The three-dimensional NATO radar will be deployed in Medina on Wednesday, and as a result, Hungarian airspace control will be complete, Defence Minister Csaba Hende announced on Tuesday at the Medina radar station.

The Minister stressed at the ceremony held on the occasion of the deployment of the new radar complex: "thanks to the cutting-edge technology and the top-of-the-range fighter planes, we may now proudly say that we are doing everything that can be done here, in Europe today, at the beginning of the 21st century, with a view to defending our domestic airspace”.

DownloadPhoto: Dániel Kiss/MTI

He added: the new radar station contributes to the protection of not only the airspace of Hungary but that of the whole of NATO. The military alliance has such faith in the operation of the radar that it financed 94 per cent of the construction costs from its own budget, and NATO will also provide funding for the operation of the radar during its lifespan, up to 2033, Mr Hende said.

The Minister reiterated that the Horn Government decided on the installation of a new radar station in 1998; however, by 2010 the projects planned for both the Zengő and Tubes locations had fallen through „because they failed to explain to the people why this radar is important ".

The greatest achievement is that the people of Medina in Tolna County decided to side with the cause of defence „out of their own free will, and based on their own best interests”, he remarked.

Csaba Hende further pointed out that more than half a million aircraft traverse Hungary’s airspace annually, and in order to manage this volume of aerial traffic safely, it is essential to have a sophisticated, modern airspace monitoring system in place.

DownloadPhoto: Dániel Kiss/MTI

At the ceremony, which was attended by Maria Assunta Accili, Ambassador of Italy to Budapest, the Minister stressed that the Ministry of Defence found a reliable partner in the Italian company Selex ES, the supplier of the radar equipment, and partly thanks to their cooperation, the commissioning of the radar proved to be the simplest phase of the radar construction process.

At the press conference held after the ceremony, in answer to a question, Mr Hende said: the radar station „cost a considerable sum of money ".

Koen Gijsbers, General Manager of the NATO Communications and Information Agency, said that eight radars had been commissioned in total in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary as part of a programme. He added that these are the best radars NATO has in Europe.

In answer to a further question, Mr Hende pointed out: regardless of the 3D radar, a radar company is required under any circumstances as in a tense security situation, the installed radars constitute primary military targets. The Minister added: the mobile radar devices will soon have to be replaced with more modern, western radars because the Russian-made devices are nearing the end of their lifespan, and the supply of spare parts is also uncertain.

László Zentai, Commander of the Veszprém radar regiment of the Hungarian Defence Force said before the event regarding the new facility: the radar will be deployed as of eight o’clock in the morning on Wednesday, and it will replace the Russian radar technology commissioned in 1987 as of this point in time.

The Medina three-dimensional radar is a fifth-generation, computer signal processing device which operates more effectively and with lower energy consumption, while it is capable of better performance and is easier to maintain than the Russian radars which are now being phased out.

The Commander reiterated that the other two elements of the local radar system were deployed in Békéscsaba and Bánkút in April 2014.

The decision on the construction of the Medina radar station was adopted in March 2011. The foundation stone of the 45-metre-tall radar tower was laid in October 2012, and it was completed with the involvement of the companies HM Elektronikai és Informatikai Zrt. and Megalogistic Zrt. in March 2014 as a project worth HUF 1.1 billion. The delivery and installation of the RAT 31 DL radar equipment began simultaneously. According to Mr Zentai’s information, the several-thousand-hour-long reliability test of the radar which started in January this year has been completed successfully.

(Prime Minister’s Office, MTI)