The Hungarian Defence Forces’ air defence capabilities will be reinforced with modern US missile systems, according to an announcement made on 12 August, Wednesday, in the Balaton utca building of the Ministry of Defence in Budapest.
Defence Minister Tibor Benkő and US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein signed a declaration of intent with respect to the development which is crucial for the security of Hungary and the region.
Mr Cornstein pointed out that, in his view, it is the responsibility of every government to take good care of the security of the country of its people. The Ambassador recalled that while also at present we are fighting the coronavirus that is present throughout the world, we must also respond to security policy threats such as the Crimean crisis that developed in Ukraine, in Hungary’s neighbourhood.
“Therefore, I’d like to express my appreciation not only to the Minister, but also to the Lieutenant General and members of the Hungarian government for the prudent decision they adopted, and for recognising the fact that it is indeed important for a country’s air defence system to meet the requirements of the day,” the US diplomat said.
Defence Minister Tibor Benkő recalled that the peace in which we are living is fragile, and accordingly, our country needs a well-prepared and well-equipped defence force. This is being realised as part of the Defence and Armed Forces Development Programme, an important element of which is the deployment of the air defence system which represents the highest technical standards of the day.
The Minister stressed that the Hungarian party elected to accept the US offer after long preparations, having considered and evaluated all possible systems and manufacturers. Hungarian experts carefully looked into every possibility before making the final decision.
After the addresses, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő and US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein signed a declaration of intent, and personally thanked the experts attending the ceremony who played an important part in the preparations and the selection of the offer – including Lieutenant General Ferenc Korom, Commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces – for their work.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Two separate sales to Hungary have been notified to Congress by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency:
-- In August 2019, for 180 Raytheon AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), worth $500 million;
-- In May 2020, for 60 Raytheon AIM-120C-7/C-8 AMRAAM Extended Range missiles, worth $250 million, “in support of Hungary's acquisition of the National Advanced Surface to Air Missile System (NASAMS) air defense system.”
Separately, Hungary is buying the related AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel radars through a Direct Commercial Sale.)