Defense Minister Tibor Benkő told a conference in Debrecen that Hungary is modernizing its armed forces because it wants to preserve peace, not because it is preparing for war.
“The peace surrounding us is very fragile,” Minister Benkő said, which means Hungary must be “ready and capable” of defending its borders, its citizens and safeguarding peace.
According to Rmx.news, the Minister also gave a detailed account of the 10-year modernization program of the Hungarian Armed Forces which is planned to cost HUF 1,500 to 1,700 billion (EUR 4.48-5.07 billion).
Regarding the manpower of the armed forces, Benkő said the total number should be 30,000 (it currently stands at 27,800) and another 20,000 reservists (of which there are now 8,900). In order to ensure resupply, in addition to the military school and college in Debrecen, the country needs another ten such institutions.
Regarding the equipment of the armed forces, Benkő said Hungary is in the process of purchasing 20 light military helicopters and has bought three fixed-wing transport and cargo planes. Addressing opposition criticism, he specified that these transport aircraft perform military duties in 92-93 percent and only 7 to 8 percent transporting state dignitaries (which is also a legal duty of the armed forces).
Hungary has also purchased 44 current model Leopard main battle tanks and an additional 12 older models for training purposes, 24 self-propelled howitzers and has begun the manufacturing of carbines, submachine guns and pistols under licence from Czech firearms manufacturer Česká Zbrojovka.
Benkő also said that with the rise of the defense budget in the past few years Hungary is on track to reach the (NATO-required) level of two percent of GDP by the year 2024.
Photo credit: mandiner.hu