Hungary signs deal with Rheinmetall AG for 218 Lynx combat vehicles

BUDAPEST, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Hungary’s government has signed an agreement worth over 2 billion euros ($2.36 billion) with German defence company Rheinmetall AG to buy 218 Lynx KF41 combat vehicles, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is modernising Hungarian military hardware to fulfil its NATO obligations. Most of the combat vehicles will be manufactured in Hungary by a joint venture with Rheinmetall, the statement said.

The first 46 infantry fighting vehicles will be manufactured in Germany. The Hungarian workers will observe the process in Germany and then make the remaining vehicles, it said.

“This does not only lift Hungary into the forefront of European defence technology but affirms the commitment of the Hungarian government to becoming a reliable and militarily more efficient partner to her NATO allies,” the statement cited Rheinmetall Chairman Armin Papperger as saying.

Hungary has long vowed to increase its military spending, which as in many NATO countries remains far short of the alliance’s goal of 2% of economic output. Much of its military infrastructure dates back to Communist times. ($1 = 0.8462 euros) (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)