Bundeswehr German Army orders upgrade of 143 Puma IFV infantry fighting vehicles

Germany’s Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded Projekt System & Management GmbH (PSM), a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, an order to retrofit a further 143 Puma infantry fighting vehicles.
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The Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) was designed to replace the aging Marder 1A3 IFV in the German army (Picture source: German army)

In doing so, the German government is exercising two options contained in the contract for retrofitting original Puma infantry fighting vehicles to the new S1 design status. This contract was signed in June 2021.

The order volume is in the region of €770 million. By 2029, the key capabilities of firepower and command and control of all 143 Puma systems will be brought up to date. Exercising these options assures that every Puma in the Bundeswehr inventory will conform to the uniform S1 design status. Among other things, the retrofit includes the integration of high-resolution day- and night-capable camera systems, the MELLS multirole-capable lightweight guided missile system, and digital radio equipment.

The Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) was designed to replace the aging Marder 1A3 IFV. it is 7.35 meters long, 3.80 meters wide, and 3.37 meters tall. It has a combat weight of 43 tonnes and can carry a crew of 3 plus 6 fully equipped soldiers. The vehicle is powered by a 10-cylinder, 800-horsepower MTU diesel engine, giving it a top speed of 70 km/h on roads and 50 km/h off-road. The Puma has a range of up to 600 kilometers.

The Puma's armor provides protection against small arms fire, artillery shrapnel, and mines. The vehicle's hull is made of modular ceramic and steel armor, while the turret is protected by composite armor. The Puma is equipped with a soft-kill system that can detect and neutralize incoming missiles.

The Puma's armament includes a Rheinmetall 30mm MK30-2/ABM autocannon with a dual-feed system, allowing it to fire both armor-piercing and high-explosive rounds. The cannon has a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and can engage targets at a range of up to 4,000 meters. The Puma is also equipped with a coaxial 5.56mm machine gun and two Spike-LR anti-tank missiles.

The Puma IFV features advanced electronics and communications systems, including a battlefield management system that allows the vehicle to share information with other units on the battlefield. The vehicle also has a digital fire control system that integrates the weapons and sensors, allowing the crew to engage targets with maximum accuracy.

In terms of mobility, the Puma has a fully independent suspension system. The vehicle is also amphibious and can swim at a speed of up to 10 km/h.

Defense News April 2023