The Hungarian Defence Forces has received the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System, or NASAMS.
“There is no national sovereignty, no security, and no effective homeland defense without well-functioning ground-based air defense systems,” declared Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, Hungary’s Minister of Defense, during the ceremonial handover of the NASAMS air defense missile system in Győr, at the MH Dánielfy Tibor 205th Air Defense Missile Regiment on October 26.
“With today, Hungary becomes stronger. The Hungarian Defense Force now possesses the capabilities to significantly enhance the security and protection of Hungarian citizens and assets. We have acquired a brand-new, state-of-the-art air defense missile system, which will be a cornerstone of the transformed and fully armed capabilities of the 21st-century Hungarian military,” stated Szalay-Bobrovniczky Kristóf during the handover of the NASAMS air defense missile system. The Minister emphasized that the Russo-Ukrainian War that erupted on February 24, 2022, and the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict serve as prime examples of the crucial importance of ground-based air defense systems.
“It is now more critical than ever for Hungary, after years of military downsizing, to rebuild its independent, high-altitude and medium-range national defense capabilities, and the tools for achieving this goal stand before us today,” said the Minister of Defense, referring to the agreement signed by the Hungarian Defense Force on November 30, 2020, to purchase air defense missile systems originally developed for the Royal Norwegian Air Force by Norwegian company Kongsberg and U.S. company Raytheon.
According to Szalay-Bobrovniczky Kristóf, the NASAMS air defense missile system represents the world’s forefront, with 14 countries, including the United States, Australia, Chile, Spain, Lithuania, and Oman, having already adopted the system. Furthermore, the practical application of the NASAMS system was initiated by the Ukrainian military, providing concrete evidence of its combat effectiveness. The Minister of Defense also noted that two firing units arrived this year, with an additional 4+1 firing units expected next year. “In addition, all the necessary supplementary training equipment is arriving; operational, complete, training, and verification equipment is on its way,” he explained.
“One of the system’s most significant features is its network-based structure that relies on control stations, thus providing unmatched flexibility,” praised Szalay-Bobrovniczky Kristóf. He also mentioned that the system utilizes AMRAAM missiles, which are widely recognized as “extensively adopted, secure, excellent American-made weaponry, and the primary armament of Gripen fighter aircraft in NATO member states.”
Szalay-Bobrovniczky Kristóf highlighted that the NASAMS system will be used by the Győr Air Defense Missile Regiment, replacing a Soviet-era system with a modern procurement. “I am confident that this exceptional and highly trained regiment, armed with 21st-century capabilities, will continue to serve successfully,” he stated.
Kyrre Lohne, Vice President of Kongsberg, a Norwegian defense industrial company, explained during the ceremony that Hungary became the 12th country in the world to entrust the security of its airspace to the NASAMS air defense missile system. Hungary will also become the first NATO member state to possess the AMRAAM-ER extended-range air defense missile. “We take great pride in the fact that NASAMS protects the skies, saves lives, and safeguards critical infrastructure every day. NASAMS has become the NATO air defense standard, and Hungary now has the latest and most advanced version, providing one of the most capable air defense assets within the alliance,” he emphasized. The Vice President of Kongsberg requested that Hungarian military representatives share their experiences with other nations as Hungary is likely to operate the system for the next twenty, or possibly even thirty to forty years.
At the official handover of the equipment, leaders from both the Norwegian company Kongsberg and Hungary’s Minister of Defense Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, accompanied by Lieutenant General Ferenc Kajári, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Hungarian Defense Force, and Colonel Tibor Mihály Matyi, Commander of the Győr Regiment, were present. Afterward, Lieutenant Colonel Sándor Nagy, Commander of the NASAMS Air Defense Missile Division, provided a static presentation of the NASAMS air defense system’s exhibited equipment.