In December 2018, Hungary placed an order for 44 Leopard 2A7+s and 12 second-hand 2A4s.
As an active member of NATO, Hungary has continuously increased its defense procurement in recent years to meet performance requirements, at an acceptable price. Currently, the backbone of the Hungarian ground forces is about more than 160 T-72 main battle tanks, and these are planned to be replaced by German-made Leopard 2 tanks. In December 2018, Hungary placed an order for 44 Leopard 2A7+s and 12 second-hand 2A4s, making them the second operator of the improved version, after Qatar.
The Leopard 2A7+ was first shown to the public during the Eurosatory 2010, which is designed to operate both in low-intensity and high-intensity conflicts. The tank’s protection has been increased by modular armour. The frontal protection has been improved with a dual kit on the turret and hull front, while 360° protection against RPGs and mine protection increase the survivability of the tank in urban operations.
Leopard 2A7 MBT is the most modern and deeply improved version of the Leopard 2 series based on the Leopard 2A6 tank, officially entered service by the German army since 2014. It is said to be the most powerful tank in the world today and the best in NATO. According to reviews, it even completely outperforms the American M1 Abrams or the French AMX-56 Leclerc.
The Leopard 2A7 is a modular upgrade package, so other Leopard 2 tanks can be upgraded to this standard. Regarding the main weapon, Leopard 2A7 retains the Rheinmetall 120mm L55 smoothbore main gun. It has better fire accuracy and longer range, comparing with the previous Leopard 2 tanks. The gun is loaded manually and is compatible with all standard NATO ammunition, as well as newly developed DM11 programmable HE rounds. Secondary armament consists of a 12.7 mm machine gun. It is mounted in remotely controlled weapon station on top of the roof. There is also a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun.
The protection of Leopard 2A7 is noticeably enhanced, with improved armor that allows to resist attacks from anti-tank guns. The vehicle uses a new generation of passive armor and additional undercarriage armor, making the vehicle safer from explosions from anti-tank mines or improvised explosive devices. The Moldun-designed chassis allows for quick customization and replacement, making it possible for any variant of the Leopard 2 series to be upgraded to a Leopard 2A7.
This main battle tank has a front and rear thermal image system for the driver. Commander and gunner have additional cameras for long-range surveillance. Vehicle also carries advanced command and control equipment and is fitted with battlefield management system. The Leopard 2A7 is operated by a crew of four, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.
The tank uses a 12-cylinder MB873Ka-501 engine with a maximum capacity of up to 1,500 horsepower, helping Leopard 2A7 still be able to reach a maximum speed of 72km/h, acceleration is also extremely great. Cross-country performance is similar to that of the 2A5 and 2A6 tanks. This main battle tank can be fitted with a front-mounted dozer blade for self-entrenching and clearing obstacles.
According to the Hungarian Ministry of Defense sources, the new combat vehicles will replace the in-service Soviet-era T-72 tanks and artillery systems. Deployed by more nations than any other, the Leopard 2 is the world’s finest main battle tank. Its overwhelming combat performance, resulting from an optimum combination of firepower, protection, mobility and operational readiness.