As part of efforts to modernize the country’s land forces and replace Soviet-designed gear, the Hungarian Ministry of Defence has awarded a deal for 44 Leopard 2 A7+ tanks and 24 PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers to Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

As Janes magazine reported, the contract, signed Thursday by the Hungary Department of Defense, is worth more than $565 million and included in addition 12 used Leopard 2 A4 tanks for training purposes.

The latest development comes shortly after the Hungarian ministry handed an order for 16 H225M multi-purpose helicopters to Airbus, whose price reaches 20 million per aircraft.

According to the Hungarian Ministry of Defense sources, the new combat vehicles will replace the in-service Soviet-era T-72 tanks and artillery system and the first deliveries are expected to take place no earlier than 2020.

The new armoured vehicles are suitable for conventional as well as asymmetric warfare, the MoD said.

The latest contracts are part of Hungary’s ten-year Zrinyi 2026 military development program whose principal aim is to upgrade the weapons and equipment of the country’s armed forces.

Tanks were originally designed and manufactured by the British Army during World War I to break the deadlock of trench warfare. It was supposed to allow soldiers to get through territory controlled by enemy fire faster than infantry. Tanks rarely operate independently, they are organized into combat units, most often combined, because, without such support, tanks are vulnerable to anti-tank artillery, other tanks, anti-tank mines and (to a small extent) infantry, as well as from specialized anti-tank aircraft.