BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary has agreed to purchase NASAMS air defense systems from U.S. arms manufacturer Raytheon Technologies and Norwegian defense company Kongsberg, a Hungarian official said Thursday.
Hungary’s commissioner for defense developments told the MTI news agency that deployment of the short-to-medium-range system would “restore the military’s defensive capabilities to a 21st-century standard.”
It would replace the outdated, Soviet-designed Kub system that has been in use in the formerly communist-ruled country since 1976.
The purchase comes after several years of increased defense investments under nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has argued that Hungary “must be capable of repelling attacks from any direction” without the support of NATO, of which Hungary is a member.
Orban has also pushed for the creation of a European army to defend against potential Russian attacks.
Earlier this week, Hungary concluded a deal with Brazil on the purchase of two Embraer C-390 Millennium transport aircraft. Two Airbus H145M military helicopters were delivered this week as part of a larger deal with Airbus for the purchase of 36 helicopters.
In August, Hungary signed a declaration of intent with the United States on the purchase of $1 billion worth of air defense missiles manufactured by Raytheon.
The U.S. Embassy in Budapest called it Hungary’s “largest-ever defense procurement from the United States.” Hungary will take possession of the air defense systems in 2023, according to a government statement.