Waldemar Geiger and André Forkert
The Hungarian Government and Rheinmetall have agreed to set up a joint venture for the production of LYNX Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) in Hungary, the state news agency MTI announced on Monday. This is the first procurement contract for the vehicle, which is currently competing in Australia, the Czech Republic and the U.S. The agreement has a total volume of more than €2bn, making it the largest modernisation programme ever undertaken by the Hungarian Armed Forces. The number of vehicles to be procured has not been disclosed but according to earlier information, the requirement is expected to be for around 200 IFVs.
Developed by Rheinmetall Defence, the LYNX KF41 has a three-man crew with the ability to accommodate up to eight infantrymen and with a net weight of 44 tons, the vehicle can carry a payload of up to 6 tons. The company is also planning other variants such as a recovery, repair, engineer, mortar and ambulance vehicle. The hull of the LYNX has a fully welded structure with internal spall liners, decoupled seats and a double floor to improve protection against mines and IEDs. According to Rheinmetall, ballistic armour also protects the vehicle against anti-tank weapons, medium-calibre ammunition (generally up to 40 mm), artillery fragments and bomblets from above.
The LYNX can be equipped with an active protection system, and other protection systems such as the Rheinmetall Rapid Obscurant System – Land (ROSY) in addition to laser and acoustic sensors. The digital LANCE turret integrates the Mauser 30 mm MK30-2 ABM cannon and a coaxially mounted 7.62 mm machine gun (which is externally powered and has three barrels). When one barrel reaches a critical temperature, the barrel bundle is electrically rotated to use another barrel, a process Rheinmetall claims can be carried out under armour in less than three seconds. In addition, the turret features integrated container installations, from which the SPIKE LR2 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) or other weapons can be fired.
The vehicle is equipped with a digital vision system, an integrated laser rangefinder and a computerised fire control system. The LYNX is powered by a Liebherr diesel engine (800 kW/1,050 hp) with an automatic transmission of the Renk HSWL 256 series which produces a maximum speed of 70 km/h and a range of about 500 km.
Modernisation of the Hungarian Army
For the modernisation of the army, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence is relying on German defence technology expertise. In December 2018, Hungary signed a contract with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the delivery of 44 newly manufactured LEOPARD 2 A7+ Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) and 24 newly manufactured PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers as well as 12 used LEOPARD 2 A4HU MBTs from KMW’s stocks for training purposes. The first LEOPARD 2 A4HU was handed over at the end of July 2020. Additionally, the procurement of five WiSENT 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicles was contacted with FFG Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) mbH in 2019. According to FFG, the overall package for the Hungarian Armed Forces comprises the production and delivery of five WiSENT 2 armoured recovery vehicles, two engineer tank kits in 40-foot containers and one demining kit in a 20-foot container.
The new weapon systems are intended to replace Russian equipment still in use and improve interoperability with European Armed Forces. Furthermore, the Hungarian Armed Forces ordered a total of 20 H145M helicopters from Airbus Helicopters in 2018, with the first examples equipped with HForce and other mission packages delivered in 2019. The mission equipment includes high-resolution visual systems and armament as well as elements such as a fast roping system, ballistic protection and electronic countermeasures. The cabin with a maximum of ten seats can be converted for troop transport as well as for the transport of casualties. The extensive procurements are part of the ten-year ZRINYI 2026 military development programme, which started in 2016.