The war in Ukraine has forced Hungary to speed up the modernization of its armed forces, Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at a military event on Monday.
“In view of the current situation, Hungary must speed up its military development. The national defense fund established by the government enables the related programs to continue more strongly than before, despite wartime inflation and global economic difficulties,” the politician said.
He revealed that 44 new Leopard 2A7 tanks will be delivered to the Tata armored base with the arrival of the first vehicle expected in June 2023; the others will arrive by 2025.
The minister also added that the first pieces of the long-awaited 24 PzH 2000 self-propelled guns will arrive later this year.
“With this, we are finally restoring one of the most important ground weapons capabilities that was eliminated in 2004 under the left-wing government,” Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said.
He emphasized that a modern army is unthinkable without a strong armored force capable of striking.
“In the correct force structure, the tank and mechanized elements are indispensable factors for success,” he added.
According to the minister, technical developments are not worth much in themselves; well-prepared, trained and respected soldiers are also needed.
“The government considers it important to honor the service and commitment of soldiers with financial benefits, which is why it decided on an outstanding salary increase, which is the most serious salary increase in recent decades,” he said, adding that “war should never be our goal, we must focus on prevention.
“The end of the Russian-Ukrainian war is not yet in sight, and the economic crisis caused by it is affecting our everyday lives,” Szalay-Bobrovniczky said, insisting that Hungary’s security be strengthened because “peace requires strength.”