On 23 September 2013, the Final System Acceptance (FSA) was achieved for the Czech Republic and Hungary’s first four Fixed Position Air Defence Radar (FADR) and their Controlling Entities.
The new radar sites located at Nepolisy and Sokolnice (CR), and Bankut and Bekescsaba (HU), represent a significant achievement for the nations, who are now able to decommission their obsolete Soviet-era radars, and a major step towards delivering NATO’s Capability Package 5A0044.
Acting as Procurement Agent on behalf of the two Host Nations, the NCI Agency has worked tirelessly with the prime contractor, Selex ES in Italy, to ensure that the procured RAT-31DL radars meet NATO’s stringent performance and availability requirements. The thoroughness, dedication and proficiency of all personnel involved within the NCI Agency’s Radar Programme Management Office (RPMO), both past and present, resulted in the introduction into operational service of a highly effective air defence system that will eventually integrate fully with NATO’s Air Command and Control System.
Increasing scope during the acquisition process is a common issue in defence procurement; the FADR programme has not been immune to this and it has been the subject of almost continuous upgrades since its inception in 2002. This includes the introduction of fiber optic cables for improved secure communication, a service lift for improved maintainability and enhanced capability with the next generation IFF (providing a Mode 5 capability). The development, authorization and implementation of these changes have benefited from the Agency’s expertise in managing conjoined activities and its flexible approach to customer requirements and understanding of emerging technologies.
But the job is not finished yet. The NCI Agency continues to work on behalf of the Host Nations, in close cooperation with their resident International Programme Offices (IPOs), procuring a third Hungarian FADR system delayed due to environmental issues. At the same time the first four radars and their Controlling Entities are entering a one year acquisition CLS and warranty phase that will aim to prove the Logistic Support Concept and iron out any remaining technical bugs in the system. This activity will benefit greatly from the close support of NSPA who, with an eye on the future, have been engaged throughout the FADR procurement process as an integral partner within the RPMO with both parties jointly managing the performance of the acquisition CLS contract. This continued close cooperation between the two key NATO Agencies aims to ensure a smooth transition from procurement to in-service support.