Since 1 July 2001, as part of national commitments in the NATO Security Investment Program, Pápa has served as a backup airfield for both Hungarian and NATO aircraft and hosts Hungarian Air Force Search and Rescue helicopters. Subsequent infrastructure development, funded by the Hungarian government and the NATO Security Investment Program, contributed to the decision to select Pápa Air Base as the Main Operating Base of the SAC program.
On 23 February 2010, a new parking ramp complex for the three- aircraft SAC C-17 fleet was established, complete with a de-icing fluid collection and treatment facility. The completion of this project provided more space and better ramp lighting for aircraft taxiing, loading, servicing and maintenance activities. Other infrastructure projects include the renovation of Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS), the Security Force Duty Station, the Fire Brigade HQ, the Medical Centre and the Parachute Section. A new Air Traffic Control Tower was inaugurated in December 2015 and a personnel terminal was opened in 2019. Other infrastructure development projects are under approval, the planned runway extension would remove operational restrictions and the new hydrant refueling system would result in faster services.
Together with the other SAC Nations, Host Nation Hungary has made significant investments to develop Pápa Air Base. It is Hungary's intention to continue the development of the base into a significant, joint-use, multi-modal hub and spoke airport that would satisfy national, SAC, NATO, and EU demands.