phz 2000 tank defense forces hungary

The Hungarian Defence Forces have ordered new weapons worth 1.76 billion euros from Germany, making Hungary Germany’s biggest arms customer. However, these arms will only be deployed after 2020.

According to data revealed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Hungary has ordered 1.76 billion Euros (HUF 572 billions) worth of arms from Germany in the first half of 2019 – reports Népszava. The data was published on the request of Omid Nouripour, the German The Greens party’s spokesman on foreign affairs.

At the end of last year, Hungary ordered 44 Leopard 2A7+ battle tanks and 24 Panzerhaubitze 2000 (Pzh 2000) self-propelled howitzers,

however, there was no information disclosed with the public concerning the prices. The data published now reveals that the Hungarian Defence Forces are paying in rates for the heavy arms. The mentioned tanks and howitzers are expected to arrive in Hungary after 2020.

Népszava breaks down the pricing process: the customer has to pay not only for the arms themselves but for the training, for the ammunition, for additional equipment, for software updates and maintenance. For example, Qatar upgraded its military equipment in 2013 in a similar fashion, by purchasing 62 Leopard 2 and 24 Pzh 2000. The price for the arms, the additional equipment and for the training was 1.89 billion euros.

As stated in the announcement made in December 2018, the Hungarian Defence Forces are buying the ‘whole package’:

in addition to the previous services, the agreement mentions a technical rescue and an armoured vehicle-launched bridge (can be used during reparations, rescues and land work).

The Leopard 2 and the Pzh 2000 arms are considered to be state-of-the-art weapons. The previous can be deployed both in urban- and asymmetric warfare, and they were already used in Afghanistan and Syria. The latter will replace the D-20 towed, manually loaded howitzers which were developed at the end of WW2.

With these purchases, Hungary will not only improve its run-down military forces but will increase its prestige in the eyes of the NATO and USA – argues Népszava.

According to Szilárd Németh, under-secretary for the Ministry of Defence, altogether 616 billion forints (EUR 1.88 billion) are dedicated to defence expenses in 2020, which is 103 billion forints (EUR 315 million) more than in 2019. Out of the whole sum, 216 billion forints (EUR 662 million) are to spend on developments. Despite this, Hungary is still nowhere near the NATO requirement of dedicating 2% of the nation’s GDP for defence purposes.

Tibor Benkő, the Hungarian Minister of Defence, said in April that in 2018 Hungary spent 1.41% of its GDP on defence. The goal is not only to reach but to surpass the 2% requirement in the following years through the Zrínyi 2026 defence development program.

Népszava mentions that there was gossiping regarding overspending, like Hungary planning on upgrading from Gripens to the world’s most modern aircraft, the American F-35s in 2026.

Although the F-35s became somewhat less expensive, they still cost 90-115 million dollars (HUF 26-33 billion, EUR 79-101 million).

The Hungarian Defence Forces would need 12 crafts and 2 for training, so the 14 F-35 would cost 300 billion forints (EUR 920 million), and this would not include the ammunition, the maintenance and training.

featured image: Gerben van Es/Ministerie van Defensie – Wikimedia Commons


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