Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő called Hungary’s Defence and Military Forces Development Program a major step forward in Hungarian M1 current affairs television on Monday evening, 27 July.

The Minister explained that he regards the Hungarian military development program and its rate of realisation to be significant even in European comparison. “Not only the procurement of modern technical equipment, but the whole Defence and Military Forces Development Program, including patriotic home defence teaching, the reserve system, training and the military career model”, he stated.

The Minister was also asked about the Leopard 2A4HU tanks that arrived at the Hungarian Defence Force (HDF) last week from Germany. Mr. Benkő said these armoured vehicles afford a transition from Eastern technology to Western technology. “They are very modern pieces of equipment, but the ‘huge leap’ for Hungary will be the arrival of A7-type tanks in 2023”, he added, noting that in 2023 only Germany, Denmark and Hungary will have these types of tanks in their possession.

Mr. Benkő was also asked with relation to the fact that, according to an article published in Hungarian daily Népszava last week, the maintenance of the HDF’s Airbus helicopters will cost some 14 billion forints (EUR 40.3 million) over the coming years. The Minister said the figure mentioned is correct, and includes the maintenance of the helicopters and their flight-time based repairs over the next five years.

With relation to the Democratic Coalition’s claims that these helicopters are not military vehicles, but government vehicles, Mr. Benkő highlighted: “Members of Parliament may view the flight-time records at the Ministry of Defence. It will transpire from these that some 80 percent of flight time was dedicated to military duties”. “It is easier, cheaper and safer to transport members of the Cabinet using military vehicles, and this occurs based on a multi-ministerial agreement concluded in 2005”, he stated.

(MTI/Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister)