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Gerhard Heiming

On 24th July 2020, the 25th Infantry Brigade (MH 25. Klapka György Lövészdandár) in Tata (75 west of Budapest) received the first four of twelve LEOPARD 2 A4HU Main Battle Tanks (MBTs). The ceremonial handover was attended by Hungarian Defence Minister, Tibor Benkö, the German parliamentary state secretary, Thomas Silberhorn, Commander-in-Chief of the Hungarian Armed Forces, Ferenc Korom, and the CEO of tank manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Frank Haun.

The LEOPARD 2s are adapted to Hungarian requirements and have Hungarian national insignia. Benkö described the handover of the MBTs as the beginning of a new era in the history of the Hungarian Armed Forces, which are currently being modernised in an extensive development programme. The programme also includes H145M helicopters with the HForce weapon system, of which the eighth and ninth of the 20 light helicopters ordered were taken over on 22th July 2020.

The T72 MBTs, which are to be replaced by LEOPARD 2s from 2023, also featured in the parade lineup. Benkö used the ceremonial handover of the new tanks to bid farewell to the outdated technology that had been in service with the Hungarian Army for 40 years.  At the end of the event, the T72s demonstrated their capabilities; potentially for the last time in front of an audience.