Hungary to buy air defense missiles from US for $1 billion

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Hungary signed a declaration of intent Wednesday to purchase air defense missiles from the United States for around $1 billion.

The agreement was signed by Hungarian Defense Minister Tibor Benko and David Cornstein, the U.S. ambassador to Hungary.

The U.S. Embassy described the deal as Hungary’s “largest-ever defense procurement from the United States.

According to the Hungarian Defense Ministry, it includes both air-to-air and land-to-air missiles.

Hungary has been a NATO member since 1999.

In revealing his government’s plans to secure U.S.-made weapons, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said last year that “the construction of the modern Hungarian army is happening now.”

The Orban government has increased annual defense spending since around 2015 following deep cuts in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. NATO members agreed in 2014 to gradually raise national defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2024.

According to Hungary’s 2021 budget plan, defense spending is projected to reach 778 billion forints ($2.25 billion) next year, or around 1.66% of GDP.

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