Economy & Policy

Defense industry strategy in the works

Hungary’s new defense strategy will bring investments in the value of hundreds of billions of forints.

In addition to developing and supporting its own forces, Hungary aims to build an export market for military equipment produced here, Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics told local magazine Figyelő. The strategy will be completed by the end of January. 

The Lynx plant, which will be established in Zalaegerszeg, could play an important role. Hungary’s Armed Forces bought 218 Lynx combat vehicles worth more than EUR 2 billion, 172 of which will be produced by a joint venture between German Rheinmetall and the Hungarian State’s Zala. Specialists from Zala are being trained in Germany, and the future plant, to be built from HUF 60 billion, will be able to produce 100 infantry combat vehicles a year starting in 2023.

Palkovics stressed that the most important element of the strategy is the establishment of sector clusters. One of these clusters is aimed at the development, production and validation of combat vehicles in western Hungary. In addition to the plant in Zalaegerszeg, Rába Plc. in Győr and BM Heros Zrt. in Kaposvár will also play a role here. 

The aerospace industry, including the Airbus helicopter parts manufacturing plant in Gyula, is another important strategy cluster. For this, the airport and vocational training center in Békéscsaba will also be completely redesigned. Meanwhile, Várpalota will be yet another cluster center for the production of ammunition and minesweepers, built in conjunction with Rheinmetall.

For weaponry, a factory in Kiskunfélegyháza will serve as a base for hand-held or vehicle-mounted weapons, while the Szeged laser center will work on a new generation of laser weapons. The Budapest cluster will specialize in communications, telecommunications and the development of cyber systems, while the sixth cluster will be the sensor center in northeastern Hungary.

In terms of the research and funding behind the new strategy, the Defense Industrial Venture Capital Fund will be established, while the Defense Innovation Research Institute will be responsible for research at three sites. In Budapest, the focus will be on applied research, mainly in the field of engineering. The Science and Innovation Park in Szeged will be responsible for basic research in addition to laser research, and Zalaegerszeg will handle device validation.

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