The Czech and Hungarian air forces Saab Gripens fighter aircraftrecently participated in combined air operations, mainly in the night-time missions, of the Multinational Air Group (MAGDAY) exercise in Jagel, Germany. The participating Saab Gripens were stationed at the Tactical Air Force Squadron 51 “Immelmann” (Taktisches Luftwaffengeschwader 51) at Jagel Air Base in Schleswig-Holstein. Besides the Hungarian and the Czech Air Forces with four Gripens each, more than 18 other Air Forces participated in the MAGDAY.
This was the first of the four MAGDAYs that have been planned for this year. These are regular training events for which Germany is the framework nation. The events typically consist of two rehearsal days and two live-fly days. MAGDAY’s goal is to increase interoperability between the participating allies. The exercise comes under NATO’s Framework Nations Concept for which Germany and other Allies have committed on ensuring the standing up of larger sets of forces, and providing NATO with military formations that are interoperable, well-trained and operational flying assets.
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is a light single-engine multirole fighter aircraft manufactured by the Swedish aerospace company Saab. It was designed to replace the Saab 35 Draken and 37 Viggen in the Swedish Air Force (Flygvapnet). The Gripen has a delta wing and canard configuration with relaxed stability design and fly-by-wire flight controls. It is powered by the Volvo RM12, and has a top speed of Mach 2. The Czech Air Force has 14 Gripens on lease; these include 12 single-seat C models and two two-seat D models, in operation as of 2016. The Hungarian Air Force operates 14 Gripens (12 C-models and 2 D-model) on a lease-and-buy arrangement as of February 2017.