In response to an unidentified aircraft entering Hungarian airspace from Ukraine on Monday 21, Hungary scrambled Saab JAS 39 Gripen fighter jets, the Defense Ministry reported.
According to an alert, an unidentified aircraft was detected by radar in the eastern part of the country and headed for Slovakia, which borders Hungary in the north. The military said the jets checked the indicated airspace, patrolled there, and after being convinced of the safety of the airspace, they returned to the base in Kecskemét, in central Bacs-Kiskun County. The identity of the aircraft has not been revealed to the public.
A Monday evening report suggested that the mission was ordered by NATO’s Joint Air Operations Center.
This was the third time in several days that fighter jets had been scrambled by Hungarian military. The two previous instances took place on Saturday and Monday where precautionary measures were taken, and warplanes took to the sky after it was reported there were bombs on civilian airliners passing through Hungarian and Polish airspace.
Another incident occurred in Eastern Europe earlier in March when an old Soviet Tu-141 drone flew all the way from Ukraine over Romania and Hungary to Croatia before crashing in a park in Zagreb.
It is fortunate that no injuries occurred during the incident, but there was acknowledgement by Croatian officials that it revealed a major flaw in the defensive capabilities of the nation.
The unidentified aircraft spent approximately 40 minutes in Hungarian airspace and was presumed to be Ukrainian.
In a separate incident in Romania last week, a small reconnaissance drone was found, which appeared to be a short-range model used by Russian forces. The country’s defense minister dismissed it as insignificant.