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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

26 June 2015

PUMA IFV Meeting the Customer's Exacting Requirements

On 24 June 2015 in Unterluess, Germany, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall officially handed over the new PUMA infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). The PUMA is produced by KMW and Rheinmetall and is the successor to the MARDER light tank. Critics highlight the tank's weight (over 30t ) and high cost, as the Bundeswehr is scheduled to purchase 350 vehicles. Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, explained at the handover, "it would be hard to find a defence project of this complexity where budgetary limits were adhered so closely; the defence industry never raised the price of the PUMA," not mentioning the extra costs that additional features have cost, which was countered by Papperger by stating: "When, during the course of the project, costs increases occured, these were borne by the contractors." He cemented his argument by saying that, "there are no increased costs realting to the PUMA IFV that can be attributed to the German defence industry." Read full story on the handover and the vehicle here.

Harald Stein, President of the German procurement agency BAAINBw, handing over the "key" to the PUMA infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to Lt.Gen. Rainer Korff, Commander German Elements Multinational Corps and Basic Military Organisation at the German Army, and Deputy Chief of Army Staff. (All photos via AF)  

According to Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, KMW, his company, and a host of suppliers have, "once again demonstrated their tremendous potential and masterful expertise in making the PUMA reality." The Bundeswehr is very happy to have received the IFV, which has earlier entered active service with the Bundeswehr in order to train the trainers, at a German Army training centre in Munster until the end of this year.

According to Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, the outcome of the successful cooperation between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall represents a whole new dimension in armoured vehicle design. "It embodies the outstanding capabilities and unsurpassed competence of the German ground forces technology industry," he boasted.

Papperger sees a bright future for the defence sector, of course only if, "in the future everything necessary for preserving and strengthening the industry will in fact be done," making a very strong political statement. Ambitious requirements took the project to the limits of the technically feasible, he said, "sometimes there were mutually contradictory requirements - maximum protection, the greatest possible combat effectiveness, the lowest possible weight - to mention a few," explaining delays which were due to the complexity of the project.

Six IDZ-ES (GLADIUS soldier modernisation system) soldiers (shown here from the 92 Armoured Infantry Demonstration Battalion, Munster) fit in the back of the PUMA  infantry fighting vehicle (IFV)
Rheinmetall's CEO mentioned that the PUMA's digitised command and control (C2) technology make it easier for the crew to operate the vehicle and its subsystems, simplifying command procedures, and bring the vehicle into the networked operations loop. The vehicle's hydro-pneumatic chassis and high-performance engine make it extremely manoeuvrable, assuring a top speed of 70km/h, making it the perfect battlefield partner for the LEOPARD 2 main battle tank.

Parliamentary state secretary Markus GrĂ¼bel explained at the handover that the PUMA, "as it stands before us today, does not yet have all the required skills," called out the pending integration of EuroSpike GmbH's (joint venture of Rafael and Rheinmetall) multi-purpose, light guided missile system (MELLS), covering the firm order of initially 311 guided missiles, and moreover containing the option of additional 1,160 Rafael SPIKE LR guided missiles, integrated by Diehl BGT Defence.

Papperger concluded by turning attention to Russia, where earlier this year a prototype of a new Russian tank, the ARMATA T-14, was unveiled. He said that it is remarkable how quickly an interesting debate had unfolded, "specifically, a discussion of the shortcomings in the arsenals of the nations of western and central Europe and the need to develop a possible successor for the LEOPARD 2, and the consequences of our failure to do so in the years following the fall of the Iron Curtain." He cemented that in order to keep an Army equipped with state-of-the-art technology, means, "having to maintain an effective and efficient defence technology industry, and this goes for Germany in particular."

Delivery of all 350 IFVs will take place by 2020. Awarded to PSM GmbH (a joint enture of Rheinmetall and KMW, each holding a 50% stake) in 2004.

Thanks to its newly developed MK30-2/ABM 30mm automatic cannon and programmable ammunition, the PUMA IFV can effectively engage a wide spectrum of targets, even behind cover; and advanced optics, optronics and sensors give the crew maximum situational awareness around the clock, enabling early detection and high precision engagement of emerging threats.

A modular protection system consisting of active and passive components protects the PUMA IFV crew from mines, improvised explosive devices, bomblets, shrapnel and ballistic threats such as shaped charges and kinetic energy rounds.

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