Inauguration ceremony at Pápa Air Base, Hungary

06 July 2012


Hoisting of the NSPA flag at Pápa Air Base

After the 2 July NSPA Inauguration ceremony at NSPA Headquarters, on a local stand-up ceremony took place on 6 July at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, one of NSPA's offsite locations. Addresses were made by Mr. Gunnar Borch, NATO Airlift Management Programme Manager, Colonel Bas Pellemans, Chairman of the NATO Airlift Management Programme Board, Dr. Gyula Keszthelyi, General Director Armament and Quartermaster of the Hungarian Ministry of Defense, and Mr. Mike Lyden, NSPA General Manager.

The multinational NATO Airlift Management Programme (NAMP) is the successor of the NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) and the majority of its staff is located at Pápa Air Base. The Programme is responsible for acquiring, managing and supporting airlift assets required for national operations, including those in support of NATO, EU, UN and multi-national commitments, and to provide financial, logistical, and administrative services for the Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW), the multinational military unit that operates NAMP owned C-17 aircraft from Pápa Air Base.

Mr. Borch took the opportunity to look back on the history of NAMP. He highlighted that it is only 4 years ago that the first NAMP staff joined the agency. Only 9 months after the stand-up of NAMP, the first NAMP owned C-17 aircraft was accepted and the symbolic keys and the Airworthiness Certificate were handed over to the HAW Commander. During a little over one year of existence, NAMP successfully carried out the acquisition of the other two C-17 aircraft and associated support equipment, the registration and airworthiness certification of the aircraft, in parallel with the stand up of the Agency itself and the support provided to the activation of the Heavy Airlift Wing. In his speech Mr. Borch also mentioned the excellent collaboration with the Hungarian Ministry of Defence. Together, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence and NAMP funded and executed considerable infrastructure developments at Pápa Air Base. Finally Mr. Borch thanked his staff for a job very well done and he stressed that he is very proud and honoured to be part of the NAMP team.

On behalf of the member nations of the Strategic Airlift Capability programme, Col. Pellemans stated he was grateful to the host nation Hungary. Together with the HAW and the NAMP they have pioneered in many areas. He also mentioned to be pleased to witness that relationships and cooperation between the air base, the city of Pápa, the Hungarian Ministry of Defense, the Hungarian National Transport Authority, Hungarian national police and the chamber of commerce and industry of the Gyór-Moson-Sopron County are intensifying. Col. Pellemans mentioned that we must realize what twelve nations, ten NATO nations and two Partnership for Peace nations, in close cooperation have achieved to date. To illustrate this, some weeks ago the wing and its commander were proud to announce that 7000 hours were flown supporting the twelve nations worldwide. He expressed his respect and admiration for the achievements of NAMP men and women working at Pápa Air Base, in Capellen, Luxemburg and in the United States of America at Wright Patterson Airbase. He thanked the Boeing Company for the highly reliable maintenance and logistic support provided to NAMP.

Dr. Keszthelyi looked back at the history of Pápa Air Base. He mentioned Hungary’s long term interest in the SAC program and he highlighted the importance of the success of NAMP to the host nation. The provision of support by Hungary must extend beyond supporting the various MOUs and agreements, and must ensure that she also supports the HAW and NAMP Office in all their endeavours. He stated that continued investments by Hungary and the participating nations into the program, Pápa Air Base and the local region, will have a positive impact. New opportunities for growth have been recognized, the possibilities of further developing Pápa Air Base into an Air/Logistics Hub for NATO.

After these speeches the ceremony continued at the flag park of the airbase. During a military ceremony the NAMA flag was lowered and handed over to the former NAMA General Manager, the current NAM Programme Manager, Mr. Gunnar Borch.

Mr. Lyden concluded the local stand-up ceremony at the flag park. In his speech he pointed out the series of achievements in the years of NAMP’s existence and he indicated that with the establishment of NSPA three very successful Agencies have been brought together in the new NATO’s Integrated Logistics and Services Provider Agency. Its creation falls within the framework of the new NATO approach to defense spending during austere times called Smart Defense of which Smart Support is a key element. He thanked the NAMP staff for the hard work done in the past and he was confident he could rely on their support in the future. In addition he thanked the Hungarian military personnel of Pápa Air Base for the excellent performance and execution of the ceremony at the flag park.