Hungary adds German Leopard 2A7 Main Battle Tanks to its Armed Forces

Hungary adds German Leopard 2A7 Main Battle Tanks to its Armed Forces

The Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) have taken another step towards modernising their armoured capabilities with the addition of two Leopard 2A7HU main battle tanks to the HDF’s 1st Armoured Brigade on 3 June 2024. The Minister of Defence, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky, announced the arrival, underlining Hungary’s continued strengthening of its military power.

These new Leopard 2A7 tanks, including a driver training tank, will facilitate the advanced training of armoured officers and non-commissioned officers in Tata, Hungary. The Minister of Defence stressed that this professional training course lasting several months is designed to ensure that personnel acquire comprehensive knowledge and expertise in the use of this new military equipment.

The Hungarian Ministry of Defence had signed a contract with German defence company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the purchase of Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks. The contract, signed on 19 December 2018, was part of Hungary’s ‘Zrínyi 2026’ defence and military development programme. The contract was valued at more than $565 million and included the delivery of 44 new Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks, 24 PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and 12 used Leopard 2A4 tanks for training purposes. The acquisition and entry into service of the two Leopard 2A7s is part of this programme to modernise the Hungarian armed forces.

With this latest delivery, the 11th Tank Battalion ‘vitéz Tarczay Ervin’ now has a fleet of 13 main battle tanks adapted to the specific needs of Hungarian defence. Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky indicated that this is part of a wider initiative, with 48 high-tech Leopard 2A7HU tanks due to be delivered to Hungary by 2028, although deliveries have already begun.

The Leopard 2A7 tank was designed in Germany, and the first 2A7 was delivered to Germany in December 2014. It has a 120 mm cannon, the L55 smoothbore cannon, which is 55 calibres long (6.6 metres) and has a range of 8 km. Several countries, including Denmark, Norway, Germany and, of course, Hungary, have acquired Leopard 2A7s.

The German tank is equipped with a whole range of accessories to improve its effectiveness on the battlefield, such as a CBRN system, a fuel pre-heater, a heater for the crew compartment, a fire extinguishing system, a thermal imaging system, an auxiliary power unit and a whole host of other equipment.

The Leopard 2A7 has a crew of 4, including commander, gunner, driver and loader. The tank can reach a top speed of 70 km/h despite weighing 64,500 kg. It has an operational range of 450 km. The Leopard 2A7 is fully protected against modern ATGW anti-tank-guided weapons and RPG rocket-propelled munitions.

The continued acquisition and integration of the Leopard 2A7HU tanks marks an improvement in the Hungarian Army’s operational capabilities, reflecting Hungary’s commitment to maintaining a modern and formidable defence force. The Leopard 2A7 is a tremendous addition to the Hungarian Armed Forces as it represents the latest iteration in the Leopard tank series, while the Leopard 2A8 is still under development. However, 2028 is still a long way off and not all Hungarian forces are equipped with state-of-the-art battle tanks, so we must be patient before receiving the full Leopard 2A7.

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