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Dec 3 2021

Hungary plays an important role in Air Policing

RAMSTEIN, Germany – Hungary began NATO Air Policing under Integrated Air Defence System on March 12, 1999 when the country joined to the Alliance.

Since the very beginning of Air Policing, three different types of aircraft were involved in peace time missions. First MiG-21 Fishbed and MiG-29 Fulcrum were used on a rotational basis from March 12, 1999 to August 14, 2000. MiG-29 Fulcrum did air policing till December 22, 2008. MiG-29 Fulcrum and JAS-39 Gripen carried out air policing on a rotational basis till December 31, 2009. And then finally, JAS-39 Gripens have been flying those missions from January 1, 2010 until present day.

The Combined Air Operations Centres at Uedem, Germany and Torrejón, Spain are responsible to plan, direct, task, coordinate, supervise and support air operations of allocated assets in peace, crisis and conflict. They are tasked to execute NATO's Air Policing mission closely cooperating with Control and Reporting Centres, National Air Policing Centres and dedicated Quick Reaction Alert air bases across their respective area of regional responsibility. In Hungary this Command post is the CRC Veszprém (Silvershark) and the sensor posts are connected to feed into the Combined Air Operations Centres' Recognized Air Pictures and the Quick Reaction Alert Interceptor aircraft stand ready at dedicated air base.

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A Hungarian JAS 39 Grippen takes off as a Slovenian DC9 Swift taxies before a training mission May 26, 2017 at Kecskemet Air Base, Hungary. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Beth Holliker.

For NATO nations that do not have the necessary air capabilities, agreements exist to safeguard the airspace over all Allies to the same standard. Slovenia or the Baltic States are good examples for that. Until the spring of 2014, Italy provided protection to Slovenian airspace and after the ratification of the Air Policing agreement between Slovenia and Hungary the mission was conducted by the Italian and Hungarian Air Forces. The purpose of that agreement is to ensure the integrity of Allies' airspace in Europe and protects Alliance nations by maintaining a continuous 24/7 alert posture where Air Policing scrambles respond to military and civilian aircraft that do not comply with international flight regulations and approach Allies' airspace. Besides that, Hungary was the lead nation providing NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission two times, 2015 and 2019, based at Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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