Hungary Signs $1Bn Deal for NASAMS Air Defense System

Hungarian Defence Minister Tibor Benkő (4th from right) and US Ambassador to Hungary David Cornstein (4th from left) pose at the Hungarian defense ministry on Aug. 12 at the signature of the $1 billion air-defense agreement. (US Embassy photo)

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.)


U.S. Ambassador Cornstein Hails Hungary’s Billion Dollar Air Defense Purchase

U.S. Ambassador David Cornstein today joined Minister of Defense Tibor Benkő in announcing Hungary’s declaration of intent to conclude its largest-ever defense procurement from the United States, an action which will overhaul and modernize Hungary’s air defense capabilities and allow it to transition away from its current legacy Soviet system. This purchase will provide a proven, best in the world air defense capability that will contribute to the security of Hungary and NATO.

With today’s announcement, Hungary has committed to working with the United States through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program to procure Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) produced by U.S. company Raytheon Technologies.

Between the Foreign Military Sales and Direct Commercial Sale portions of the deal, the purchase amounts to an approximate one billion dollar investment in the future of Hungary’s security.

This procurement will further deepen the excellent security cooperation between our two countries. This, together with the Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), completed in 2019, have been major achievements in recent years that improve the long-term security of both countries and the region.

We commend the Hungarian government’s strong commitment to continue modernizing Hungary’s military through the acquisition of the world’s most advanced mid-range air defense system, which will enhance Hungary’s ability to provide collective and self-defense. We look forward to working with our NATO Ally Hungary on this project and continuing to enhance our long-term strategic partnership.


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