Hungarian troops near the Ukrainian border - Photo: MTI

Szijjarto: Gripens investigate suspicious radar contacts

Hungary air defence detected, tracked drone that crashed in Zagreb

Hungarian air defence detected and tracked the drone that crossed its airspace on Thursday night before it crashed in Zagreb, the defence ministry has said.
11. March 2022 21:47

The air defence service of the Hungarian Armed Forces detected a flying object on its radars on Thursday night, the ministry said in a statement. The object was later identified as a TU-141 drone which has recently been used as a training target, the ministry said, adding that both the Ukrainian and Russian militaries had used such drones.

The drone had already been detected in Ukraine’s airspace, the ministry said. Once it entered Hungarian airspace it was tracked by the air defence service until it exited the airspace, they added.

The ministry said a similar incident had occurred again around noon on Friday in north-eastern Hungary. Gripen fighters were scrambled to check out the airspace where the object had been detected but found no aircraft, they added.

“The war in Ukraine makes it especially important for such incidents to be handled calmly and in a well thought out manner,” the ministry said, stressing that Hungary aimed to stay out of the war “even if such incidents are of a provocative nature”.

Defence Minister Tibor Benko and Chief of Defence Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi are both in contact with their Croatian counterparts and representatives of neighbouring countries, the statement said. The countries of the region are investigating the incident and sharing their findings with each other, it added.

The ministry told MTI that it is wary of provocation and does not want Hungary to be dragged into the war due to any unnecessary measures. The ministry therefore chooses to carry out inspections before taking any action if an aircraft is capable of carrying weapons, it added.

Szijjarto: Gripens investigate suspicious radar contacts

Hungarian Gripen fighter planes were scrambled twice on Friday to investigate suspicious radar contacts but found no trace of any flying objects, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said.

Multiple NATO member states, including Hungary, Romania and Croatia were affected by the incident, Szijjarto said, adding that the authorities were investigating it in cooperation with Hungary’s allies.

Around noon on Friday, Hungary’s air force detected radar signals in the northeast that were similar to the ones seen during the night, Szijjarto said. Gripen fighters were scrambled from the base in Kecskemet, in central Hungary, to inspect the area where the object was detected but found no sign of any flying objects, he said.

The fighters were scrambled again to investigate another radar signal in the afternoon but again found no aircraft, the minister said.

Szijjarto said he had informed his Romanian, Croatian and Slovenian counterparts of the radar contacts.

“Because there is a war going on in our neighbourhood, it is extremely important for the armed forces and the air force to take a calm and measured approach at all times,” Szijjarto said. “It was no different this time and would be no different in the coming period.”

“We must protect Hungary and the security of the Hungarian people and guarantee that Hungary does not get dragged into the war in our neighbouring country in any way,” he added.

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