Defense Minister: Hungary is building a high-tech military

Marking National Defense Day, Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky said Hungary's military upgrade was underway but there was still more to be done.

Marking National Defense Day, Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said a shared remembrance “of our past allows us to recommit ourselves to continuing the thousand-year journey in defense of the Hungarian nation”.

“Looking into the past, we see huge military achievements, such as the thousand-year-old state of St. Stephen, whose military heroes made surviving through victories and defeats possible…” Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at the ceremony in Buda Castle. “And then there’s the Hungarian Armed Forces established at the birth of the modern Hungarian nation, which has been at the service of the nation in times of peace, war, oppression and freedom.” He said it was up to the government and diplomacy to ensure that the most important decisions in the life of the nation were still made in the nation’s capital. “But in these times we have to be especially careful that nothing that goes against our fundamental national interests can be forced on us,” he said, emphasising that defense played an important part in this. Hungary, he said, had reason to be satisfied with its accomplishments in recent years, noting that it was building a high-tech military, and defense spending now exceeded 2% of GDP. He noted the newly-built defense industry plants, the manufacturing of Lynx armoured infantry fighting vehicles in Zalaegerszeg, small arms in Kiskunfélegyháza, Airbus helicopters in Gyula, the ammunition plant in Várpalota, and the production of Turkish Gidran armoured fighting vehicles in Győr. Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky said the military upgrade was underway but there was still more to be done, and serious efforts were needed “to prepare for everything we can be presented within such times of war”. He said Hungary had to be capable of giving the right response to every challenge. Hungary has observed National Defense Day since May 21, 1992, to commemorate the retaking of Buda Castle on this day in 1849 after a three-week-long siege.