Kecskemét, Hungary. Photo: MTI

Hungary’s defence spending will continue to increase in 2021, to 1.66 percent of GDP, nearing the 2 percent requirement by NATO, the defence minister said on Monday.

The central budget, approved by parliament on Friday, has allocated 778 billion forints (EUR 2.2bn) for defence purposes next year, up 162 billion forints from 2020, Tibor Benkő told public news channel M1, adding that 25-30 percent of the funds will be spent on upgrades.

Purchases for the army will continue and Hungary will soon take delivery of Leopard battle tanks, Benkő said.

Meanwhile, an army commander told the Monday edition of daily Magyar Nemzet that in a first batch 12 Leopard 2 A4HU tanks are scheduled to arrive this summer at the army base at Tata from the German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).

The Leopard A4HU-s have been leased for training until a new batch of the highly advanced A7 types arrive in 2023, Brigadier-General Gábor Lőrincz, the commander of the tank unit at Tata, told the paper.

Tank drivers will start training in September in Austria before undergoing further training in Germany and Hungary later on, he said.

The Leopards are part of the Hungarian military’s 2026 Zrínyi comprehensive defence development programme, he noted.

“With the Leopard 2 A7+HU model we will attain world-class status, even joining the lead ranks,” Lőrincz said.

Hungarian Defence Forces
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Source: MTI

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