Four Top Predators Arrived at the Tata Brigade
(Source: Hungarian Ministry of Defence; issued July 24, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerosppace.com)
Hungary has ordered 44 Leopard 2 A7+ tanks and in the interim has also leased 12 Leopard 2A4HU tanks from Krauss Maffei to train its crews, with the help of Austrian instructors. The first four Leo 2A4s (pictured) were delivered on July 24. (Hungarian MoD photo)
The T-72s greeted with style the first four Leopard 2A4 tanks of the 25th György Klapka Rifle Brigade of the Hungarian Armed Forces, which arrived at the unit as part of the Defense and Force Development Program. On July 24, Tibor Benkő, Minister of Defense, and Ferenc Korom, Commander-in-Chief of the Hungarian Armed Forces, also took part in the handover of state-of-the-art combat equipment.

The Defense and Armed Forces Development Program affects all types and units of the Hungarian Armed Forces. To strengthen the ground forces, the Ministry of Defense has leased twelve Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German manufacturer, the first four of which - now with Hungarian insignia - crossed the Hungarian border this week to start their service at their station, the 25th György Klapka Rifle Brigade in Tata.

At the official handover, T-72 tanks were also lined up in honor of their big brothers. At the event, Minister of Defense Tibor Benkő put it this way: “Tanks form an outstanding group of the ground forces, and it is time for them to start preparing with the technical means of the new millennium,” adding that "The Hungarian Armed Forces has now reached the level of equipment allowing them to join the 21st century." The minister thanked the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann factory for being able to meet the delivery deadline despite the pandemic, and Austria for providing training for tank personnel.

The Minister praised the work of all those who had been keeping the T-72 tanks in order for forty years, and also pointed out that the handover of the first Leopards marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the Hungarian Armed Forces.

He emphasized that from September to the end of the year, the Hungarian Armed Forces will be enriched with two Leopard 2A4 tanks a month, but the real quantum leap-like development is expected in 2023, when the German manufacturer will start delivering state-of-the-art Leopard 2A7s.

In connection with the celebration of St. Christopher's Day, the Army Day of the Tata corps, the minister said that there could be no better and more beautiful opportunity for soldiers to celebrate than to take possession of the new technical equipment. “The Hungarian government is committed to having a strong, capable army in Hungary. We are committed to this Hungarian Army consisting of excellent, prepared, loyal soldiers. Let us appreciate these tools, be proud of them, find their calculations with them,” Minister of Defense Tibor Benkő concluded his speech.

Colonel-General Ferenc Korom, commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces, called the handover of the Leopards an epoch-making event. As he said, this is one of the most important milestones in the Defense and Force Development Program 2020 plan, as with the change of generations, state-of-the-art technology replaces the system of T-72s.

“Until the arrival of the Leopard 2A7s, these tanks will provide us with the transition. Their use is of decisive importance, as they enable the Hungarian Armed Forces to carry out their tasks even more efficiently and to an even higher standard,” said Colonel-General Korom.

He added that although there has been an example of such a large-scale development within the Hungarian Armed Forces for a very long time, the most modern technology is not worth much without well-trained soldiers, which is why they place great emphasis on training.

An agreement was signed with the Austrian Ministry of Defense during the summer, according to which Austrian trainers will prepare Hungarian tanks for the use of the new technology this year.

The ceremonial handover, which was also attended by Frank Haun, CEO of the KMW plant, ended with a spectacular presentation of the T-72s.

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Main Battle Tank for Hungary: Handover with State Secretary Silberhorn
(Source: German Ministry of Defense; issued July 28, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerosppace.com)
The Hungarian armed forces have taken delivery of their first Leopard 2 tanks, which will be used for training. Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn traveled to Hungary for the handover ceremony.

The Hungarian armed forces had ordered 44 copies of the current 2A7 + model in Germany a year and a half ago. They are designed to replace the Russian-made T-72 tanks that were previously used by the Hungarian army. This included the delivery of twelve used older Leopard 2A4 variants in order to train the Hungarian tank crews in advance for their new work equipment.

Increase armed forces interoperability

The first of these tanks were taken over by the Hungarian armed forces last week at a handover ceremony in the garrison town of Tata. "Hungary is modernizing its land forces and Germany is a strategic partner," said State Secretary Silberhorn. The use of the same weapon systems and the close cooperation in the training of tank crews increased the interoperability of the German and Hungarian armed forces. "This is an important part of the common security and defense policy within the framework of the European Union and at the same time strengthens the European pillar within NATO," said the Parliamentary State Secretary.

He announced that he would continue to engage in close military cooperation between the two countries, thereby strengthening cohesion in Europe based on the values and interests of the EU-European Union. Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recently visited her Hungarian counterpart on her journey through the Visegrád countries and also emphasized the excellent cooperation between the two armed forces.

Leopard 2 tanks have been manufactured by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) since 1979. In addition to the Bundeswehr, it is primarily the European partners who use it in various model variants. In addition to the Leopard 2A7+ and the Leopard 2A4 training tanks, Hungary also ordered 24 PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer, Wisent 2 armored personnel carriers and iguana bridge laying systems from the defense technology company KMW.

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