Improving the Hungarian military industry means that "Hungarians give Hungarian weapons to Hungarian soldiers".
- David is big
- — 13.05.2021
In January 2017, the Hungarian Ministry of Defense announced the launch of a comprehensive medium-term military modernization and rearmament program. This article provides a brief overview of the advances and acquisitions that took place in the first five years of the program.
In the early 2000s, several reports were made to the government stating that the Hungarian Defense Forces (HDF) and its capabilities would become extremely outdated by the 2010s without major investments. The predictions were neither surprising nor exaggerated, considering the fact that there has not been a comprehensive large-scale force development program in Hungary since the regime change in 1989; only partial acquisitions (eg purchase of JAS 39 Gripen aircraft) and refurbishments were made. However, in terms of technology and equipment, the country was stuck in the Warsaw Pact era, as none of the governments was willing to move forward in modernizing the country's defense capability after the regime change. Maintaining and extending the warranty on these deprecated technologies was just an expensive tool of previous governments and a short-term cure for the most acute problem.
Modernizing defense capabilities in the absence of political will and, especially after the 2008 global economic crisis, lack of financial and budgetary resources seemed not only a low priority, but impossible. Despite Hungary's commitment as a NATO member to adjust defense spending by 2% of GDP, the country's defense spending has stayed below 1% in the years after 2011. This was fully in line with the EU's tendency to reduce the defense budget, as governments across Europe redeployed their financial assets to other areas at the expense of their armed forces.
The international political and security state has seen many changes since the 2011 “Arab Spring”
to the Russia-Ukraine conflict of 2014, which had a severe impact on the perception of European and Euro-Atlantic security. Common defense has once again taken center stage in the strategic dialogue between NATO members, especially in Central Europe. Strengthening military capabilities and readiness, coordinating their strategic thinking, defense planning, military procurement, and force modernization programs within the collective defense system requires more human expertise and financial capital. That's why former US President Donald Trump slammed the table fiercely demanding a fair share of the burden, fulfilling the obligation to spend at least 2% per capita on defense, 20% on development (Just for comparison, US US military spending as a percentage of GDP never dropped below 3.3% over the same period). Soon, NATO countries reaffirmed their commitment to increase their defense spending inThe Welsh Declaration on Transatlantic Titleem 2014.
In 2016, the Hungarian government announcedZrínyi Force Development and Defense Program 2026mme, the ten-year comprehensive project aims to modernize and revitalize the defense sector through which the Hungarian Defense Forces become a modern decisive force, further strengthening Hungary's security and the common defense of Europe and the NATO alliance . It also aims to make a career in the military an attractive opportunity and a highly respected profession in the public eye. Over the ten-year period, a total of 3.5 trillion forints were earmarked with the aim of reaching 2% of per capita military spending by 2024.
acquisition of military technology
Regarding military technology, a large-scale acquisition was made in the first half of the program to change outdated technology, including vehicles, weapons, appliances and equipment, to more modern and interoperable equipment. The acquisitions are made in light of Hungary's commitment to NATO in 2014 in terms of capabilities and contribution. The country has committed to contributing to common defense capabilities with a heavy brigade by 2028, whereby adequate military equipment will be acquired for the aforementioned purpose.
As for the ground forces, Leopard 2A4 and 2A7+ tanks, a total of forty-four were acquired from the German company Krauss-Maffel Wegmann in 2018. The acquisition means a fifty-year technological advance, as it will replace the Russian ones. Currently used (Soviet) T-72. In addition, the KMW company's self-propelled gun PzH2000 was presented to the Hungarian Defense Forces, and a contract was also signed with the German manufacturer for two hundred infantry fighting vehicles "Puma".
Another contract for two hundred and eighteen Lynx KF41 armored fighting vehicles was signed for seven hundred billion guilders with the German corporation Rheinmetall in 2019. The deal is not just a purchase, but a cooperation between the Hungarian government and Rheinmetall, which says that a Military plant will be built in Hungary, which will produce 172 of the total number of vehicles. With this contract, the Hungarian military industry will benefit greatly, which is also a prime objective of the Government and theProgram Zrinyi 2026. Within the same cooperation, armored tactical vehicles "Gidran" (based on the Turkish Ejder Yalçın) will be produced for the HDF.
In 2020, the NASAMS (Norwegian Advanced Surface to Air Missile System) medium-range anti-aircraft missile system was acquired from Norwegian and American companies. Another contract for the acquisition of ELM-2084 multi-mission radars was awarded to Rheinmetall Canada. The radar is based on state-of-the-art Israeli technology, which is also used in the "Iron Dome" system, and is capable of detecting and tracking aircraft and ballistic targets, as well as providing fire control guidance for missile interception or artillery air defence.
As part of the modernization of aircraft and air transport capacity,
The Hungarian government has reached an agreement with the European aerospace company Airbus, acquiring twenty H145M medium-sized multi-mission military helicopters and sixteen H225M long-range tactical transport military helicopters. The pact also contains a five-year program for logistical support, training and retraining, but the parties have also agreed that Airbus will build a competence center in the Hungarian town of Gyula for the production of helicopter parts. Two KC-390 jet military transport aircraft will arrive at HDF from Brazil by 2024. Two used Airbus A319 planes have already been deployed to Berlin in 2018.
Improving the Hungarian military industry means “Hungarians give Hungarian weapons to Hungarian soldiers” –outlinedSzilárd Németh, Secretary of State for Defence. P-07 and P-09 type pistols, BREN 2 type assault rifles and SCORPION EVO 3 type submachine guns are being manufactured in Hungary following an agreement with the Czech company Ceská Zbrojovka Export (CZ) in 2018. Dynamit Nobel Defense GmbH will establish a unit in Hungary, in Kiskunfélegyháza, for the research and production of explosive reactive armor and anti-armor grenades. The German company Rheinmetall will also build factories for high caliber explosives and ammunition, grenades and mortars in Hungary.
Five years of intense development and modernization have passed when the “Zrínyi Program 2026” is halfway through. The next five years are expected to be years of training and learning, as soldiers get to grips with new and more advanced military technology, and Hungary can finally get rid of its own obsolete weaponry.
David Nagy, political analyst, security and defense policy expert. He studied at the National University of Civil Service in Budapest and at the University of Haifa. After earning a degree in International Security and Defense Policy, he started working at the Danube Institute as a researcher. He currently works as a senior analyst at EuroAtlantic Consulting & Investment Plc. His main research fields include geopolitics and security policy in Central Europe and the Middle East, with a special focus on Israel.
- Hang tags:Hungary,Military,Zrínyi
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