The first word that comes to mind about what we’ve seen here is cooperation. We’ve seen a clear proof of it, and I’d like to congratulate each soldier who participated in the preparation and the demonstration because they practice their profession at a high level by high standards, Deputy Minister Tamás Vargha, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence said at the Distinguished Visitors’ Day of Exercise Szentes Axe 2017 in Győr on Wednesday, 5 July.

Speaking on the Distinguished Visitors’ Day (DV Day) of Szentes Axe 2017, a national exercise enabling the United States Army Europe (USAREUR)-led multinational Exercise Saber Guardian 2017, the MoD Parliamentary State Secretary emphasized that “this cooperation among NATO member countries is all about security. It is about making sure that we, Hungarians can live in security in our country.” He added that this goal is also supported by a target set by the government of Hungary, according to which Hungary will spend two per cent of its GDP on defence by 2024. “The Zrínyi 2026 national defence and armed forces development program is also about security. Our goal is to make Hungary a visible and credible power in the region by the end of this ten-year period, and to make the Hungarian Defence Forces a factor to be reckoned with. I think that today they are already to be reckoned with, since our soldiers have demonstrated their readiness, and they perform well in every foreign mission, as they do in protecting the Hungarian border too”, Tamás Vargha pointed out.

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“Besides excellent cooperation, the soldiers give proof of their excellent professional standards. For this reason, I’d like to express my appreciation and thanks to the Hungarian and the allied troops”, Chief of Defence Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő said. He underlined that currently, the Hungarian Defence Forces are ready to execute national and international tasks. “In addition to several thousand soldiers participating in border security operations along the border of Hungary, around one thousand Hungarian troops serve with international missions abroad, and meanwhile the Hungarian Defence Forces participate in national training events and preparations, as well as in national and international exercises”, the Chief of Defence pointed out.

In connection with the Zrínyi 2026 national defence and armed forces development program, Gen. Dr. Tibor Benkő said that “the soldiers of the Hungarian Defence Forces now deserve to be provided with more modern and new military equipment and assets.”

David Kostelancik, Chargé’d Affaires, US Embassy Budapest said that the guests attending the DV Day were able to observe a successful action, a successful cooperation in an operation with the principal objective of collectively guaranteeing security. He thanked the Hungarian troops for their role and for having demonstrated their ability to make the alliance even stronger together.

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On the DV Day of Exercise Szentes Axe 2017, the Hungarian, US and Slovenian soldiers participating in the training series carried out a spectacular wet gap crossing operation. Besides the foreign troops, designated personnel joined the exercise from several units of the Hungarian Defence Forces. It was noted that this exercise featured all elements of the joint force capability, as the members and assets of the Hungarian Defence Forces were present on land, water and in the air as well. In addition to the infantrymen of the HDF 25th Klapka György Infantry Brigade and the HDF 5th Bocskai István Infantry Brigade, the army engineers of the HDF 37th Ferenc Rákóczi II Engineer Regiment – as well as designated personnel from the HDF 12th Arrabona Surface-to-Air Missile Regiment and the HDF Civil-Military Cooperation and Psychological Operations Centre –, an AS 350 helicopter of the HDF 86th Szolnok Helicopter Base and two JAS-39 Gripen fighter planes of the HDF 59th Szentgyörgyi Dezső Air Base were present in the sky. A minesweeper of the HDF 1st EOD and Warsip Regiment provided force protection during the wet gap crossing operation.

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Szentes Axe 2017 is part of the high-visibility Exercise Saber Guardian 2017. The USAREUR-led multinational training event involves around 25,000 troops in total. On the banks of the Moson-Danube River near Győr, some 750 US, close to 300 Hungarian and over 50 Slovenian soldiers were exercising together.