Rheinmetall intends to open production plant for Panther KF51 tanks in Hungary

By Defence Industry Europe

On September 27, the German media group NDR reported that Rheinmetall intends to initiate the production of Panther KF51 main battle tanks in Hungary.


According to NDR, the Hungarian government is expected to partially cover the development costs of the Panther KF51  tank, currently estimated at around EUR 300 million. After the completion of the development phase, the tank will be ready for production. Rheinmetall’s CEO Armin Papperger, stated that serial production could start in just 15 months.



According to German media reports, Budapest has announced its intention to purchase KF51 tanks for the Hungarian Defence Forces. This decision is somewhat surprising, considering that Hungary is soon to receive a battalion of Leopard 2A7HU tanks ordered several years ago. It raises questions about whether the relatively small Hungarian armed forces will operate two different types of main battle tanks (the production version of the Panther is expected to differ significantly from the demonstrator) or if they plan to replace the Leopard 2 relatively quickly. However, it’s unlikely that Hungary intends to field more than two or three line battalions of tanks.



The plans of Rheinmetall regarding the production of KF51 tanks in Hungary raise questions about the previously announced plans to start manufacturing these tanks (and the Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicles) in Ukraine, as reports indicate that the Ukrainian factory construction plans are still on track.



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