Hungarian Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky announced that the first of 44 Leopard 2A7HU main battle tanks (MBTs) for the Hungarian Ground Forces arrived in Hungary on 5 December and will shortly be integrated into the 25th Mechanized Infantry Brigade.
Defence Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky emphasized that this marks a significant milestone in the modernization of the Hungarian Defence Forces, allowing them to enter the 21st century with state-of-the-art technology.
In addition to the new tanks, the Hungarian Defence Forces will also be receiving Leguan bridge-layers and armoured recovery vehicles. The transition from Soviet-era military hardware to modern technology has been aided by a cooperation agreement with the German KNDS company. The collaboration includes the development of complementary services, simulation, and maintenance, with the factory leadership providing support to the Hungarian Defence Forces.
These tanks were specifically designed to meet the needs of the Hungarian Defence Forces and were produced in Germany by the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) company as a variant of the Leopard 2A7+ MBTs. The Leopards will provide the Hungarian Defence Forces with essential capabilities.
This partnership ensures that the Hungarian Defence Forces receive not only new military equipment but also a fleet of high-quality tanks, which are supported by important services from the German company.
Initially, 12 units of the 2A4HU were acquired by the 1st Armored Brigade, and their procurement was carried out with the intention of preparing for the use of the 2A7HU version.
The 44 Leopard 2A7HU main battle tanks will be equivalent to a battalion-sized subunit in the NATO Force Structure. The raison d’étre of the armour branch of the army has gained significant value in recent years – especially on the basis of the lessons learned of the Russo-Ukrainian War.
Modern tanks and their professionally trained and deployed crews have an important role to play in the successful conduct of land operations. Due to Hungary’s geographical features and the defensive core purpose of its armed forces – namely, area defence –, when used with adequate infantry and artillery support, tanks are essential and indispensably important parts of the arsenal of the Hungarian Defence Forces.
The armoured hull of the Hungarian Leopard has a length of 7.7 meters, and the tank measures 10.97 meters with gun forward. Its width is 3.76 meters without the add-on armour module, and its height is 3.03 meters.
The firepower of the Leopard 2A7HU tank is provided by a L55A1, L/55 calibre-length, 120mm Rheinmetall main gun. This upgraded L55A1 tank gun can guarantee the efficient destruction of enemy targets on ranges up to 5000 meters. Furthermore, the tank also has a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, a 12.7mm Remote Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) as well as two banks of eight 76mm smoke grenade dischargers that are also suitable for firing HE grenades.
The tank is capable of hasty wet gap crossing up to 1.2-meter depths, and in the event of deliberated crossing, it also has a fording capacity of up to 2.25 meters and deep wading capacity of up to 4 meters.
The Hungarian Defence Forces have procured several different types of multi-purpose armour-piercing projectiles and another two types of short-range training shells for the main gun of the tank. Hungary has concluded a contract with German Rheinmetall AG for the procurement of significant amounts of munitions. Established by the government of Hungary, the Várpalota plant manufacturing artillery shells is also going to join the manufacturing process, together with Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH.