Tuesday 14 July 2015 marked an exceptional milestone for the integration of Hungary into the NATO collective air defence, and the culmination of years of hard work for a strong multidisciplinary team within the NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency), NSPA, national experts, air force operators and our industrial partners.
Hosted by the Deputy State Secretary of Economic Affairs of Ministry of Defence, Dr Attila Puskás, chaired by the Minister of Defence Dr Csaba Hende and the NCI Agency General Manager, the Final Systems Acceptance for the Hungarian and Czech chapter of the Fixed Air Defence Radars was formalized on the premises of the amazing Medina radar site, in Hungary.
Initiated shortly after the accession to NATO on 12 March 1999 of Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary, the Capability Package 5A0044 defined an ambitious programme intended to build and reinforce the Nations' air and missile defence core sensors capability with modern radar technology, and enable their future participation in the Air Command and Control System. These radars feature primary and secondary detection, with 3D target positioning and Identification, friend or foe interrogation over civilian and military encrypted protocols. With a total investment close to 150 MEUR, a broad team was gathered across the Agency, and Selex ES was awarded the contract for all sites after an International Competitive Bid.
Such complex projects are never without challenges; the Medina radar had to be relocated twice on environmental grounds and some performance issues were also identified by our electronic warfare experts which led to tremendous technical improvements achieved through years of performance testing and enhancements. In the end we can all be proud to affirm that the NATO Fixed Air Defence Radars are the best and most reliable of their generation.
Dr Attila Puskás expressed Hungary's satisfaction during his introductory discourse: "With the implementation and acceptance for service of the RAT-31DL radars in three locations, the Hungarian military radar warfare opened a new page. These new radars require a new approach to operations […]. With these, new radar systems both the domestic and the NATO air defence system have strengthened. It is important to emphasize that the excellent and fruitful relationship among the people working in the programme from NCI Agency, the vendor and the Nations was one of the keys to success."
The journey is not over. With additional requirements for Cyber Security and High-level Architecture integration, the team will soon be taking on-board additional staff from our cyber defence and education & training service lines. In parallel, the Joint ISR Service Line and AirC2 PO are consolidating the Alliance's collective air defence capability by implementing additional fixed sensors and deployable mixed technology sensors for the Air Command and Control System.
For related story by Hungarian Ministry of Defence click here.