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US Senate blocks sale of HIMARS System to Hungary

By Defence Industry Europe

American media reports indicate that the United States Senate has blocked the approval process for the sale of a USD 735 million armament package to Hungary. The reason behind this move is the reluctance of authorities in Budapest to support Sweden's NATO accession.

According to The Washington Post, senator James E. Risch, a key figure in the Foreign Relations Committee, has halted the authorization process for the equipment sale. Unofficially, it is mentioned that the package includes 24 Lockheed Martin M142 HIMARS launchers along with an ammunition package.

This rare political move is influenced by Hungary’s stance as one of the two countries in the alliance, alongside Turkey, that has not endorsed Sweden’s NATO membership bid. The decision is motivated by the negative opinions expressed by Swedish authorities regarding Viktor Orbán’s legal reforms.

Like other countries in the region, Hungary has been pursuing a hardware modernization program, relying on equipment supplies from both the United States and primarily Europe. Although surprising, the Senate’s decision is not unprecedented, as history has shown.

For months, Congress has withheld a positive decision regarding the potential sale of 40 multirole combat aircraft, Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon Block 70/72, to Turkey. In this case as well, the bone of contention is the lack of a positive decision from Ankara regarding the Swedish request.

As per the plans of the Washington authorities, the decision on Sweden’s NATO accession is expected to be made during the summit scheduled for 11-12 July in Vilnius. The American pressure, associated with the refusal to sell military equipment, aims to expedite the ratification process.

Currently, in Europe, users of the M142 HIMARS system include Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Additionally, Lithuania and Estonia have placed orders. Apart from Hungary, Latvia has also shown interest in purchasing the system.

 

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