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History of the base

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The building of Pápa Air Base started in 1936. The next year two Bomber Squadrons of the Royal Hungarian Air Force were located in the base. They were equipped with the German made Junkers JU-86 bombers.

In addition to planes, paratroopers were stationed at Pápa Air Base. The first Hungarian Royal Parachute Squadron was established on the 1st of October 1939 and the Bertalan Árpád Parachute Battalion was organized. 

During the Second World War several German and Hungarian units used the Pápa Air Base. In addition several Messerschmitt 109 fighters were built in the Base. In late 1944, the 102nd Blanketing Aircraft Division was established. 

After the Second World War a Russian fighter regiment was stationed in Pápa. The units from the Soviet Union’s Air Force used the base from 1945 until 1961.

In summer 1961 the Hungarian Air Force returned, when 47th Fighter Regiment was moved from Sármellék to Pápa. Regiment was equipped with Russian made JAK-9 fighters and MiG-15 jet fighters.

During the same year the Hungarian Air Force received the first MiG-21 jet fighters from Soviet Union. MiG-21 was the first supersonic fighter in Hungary.

In 1962 the runway of the Pápa Air Base was renovated and the 47th Fighter Regiment was temporarily moved to Taszár.

In 1979 the Regiment received the first MIG-23 jet fighters. The 1st Squadron was equipped with the new MiG-23’s, while the 1st and the 2nd Squadrons were still using the older MiG-21 model.

The runway was renovated again in 1984. During the works the 1st Squadron was moved to Mezőkövesd, the 2nd and the 3rd Squadrons to Szentkirályszabadja. In 1989 the Sámán and the Griff Squadrons were formed.

The big change came in June 2001, when the 47th Pápa Tactical Fighter Regiment was closed down because of the reorganization of the Hungarian Air Force.

On the 1st of July 2001 the unit of Pápa Air Base was established. After that Pápa Air Base has been designed as a NATO reserve Base. 

The Pápa Air Base was selected to host the operational arm of the Strategic Airlift Capability, The Heavy Airlift Wing. The initial cadre of the Heavy Airlift Wing arrived to Pápa Air Base in October 2008.

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