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Puma infantry fighting vehicle Image 10

Germany

Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Puma infantry fighting vehicle
Unveiled / Entered Service
2015
German Army Puma infantry fighting vehicle from Panzergrenadier Brigade 37 on the road during military exercise "Wettin Sword" just after crossing the Elbe. This vehicle is equipped with MELLS launcher and MUSS IR jammer. April 2022
Status
In Service
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Introduction

Entering production in 2016, the German Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle (Schützenpanzer or short SPz)  was reconsigned as one of the most, if not the most heavily protected tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicle in the NATO Alliance.

Since the principal production has now been completed, attention has since shifted in implementing a digital modernisation program that has introduced revolutionary communications and battlefield management systems, Anti-Tank Guided Missile capability and advanced situational awareness technology in an attempt to crown the Puma the most digitalised, heavily protected IFV in NATO.

However, with so many project partners and components within the vehicle to maintain, its been reported by critics that the maintainability and readiness of the vehicle has issues, citing an exercise in 2023 where 18 of 19 Puma's broke down during the exercise.

 

 

Background

Puma IFV and Marder 2 IFV
Puma IFV in the foreground and Marder 2 IFV in the background

Background

Since 1969, the German Marder 1 has served both the former West German Army and the current German Army (following German reunification in 1990) as its principal Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Project development of its replacement started in 1984 and it was planned that 1000 vehicles would be purchased for the former West German Bundeswehr from 1997 to 2001.

With the eventual re-unification of West and East Germany, the subsequent easing of relations with Russia and the projected costs, the Marder 2 replacement was dropped in 1992 in favour of more cost effective upgrades of the Marder 1.

Project Requirements

In the summer of 2002, the capability requirements were outlined. The vehicle must have the highest level of protection to defeat any threat to the crew. It must be able to keep pace and fight along side the Leopard 2 Tank in high intensity operations and be able to offer the infantry maximum fire support whilst on peace keeping missions (where the Leopard 2 is not deployed). It must also be able to operate in any type of environment (desert, arctic etc) and be able to be transported via aircraft to any location on the planet.

PSM Projekt System & Management GmbH

In September 2002, PSM Projekt System & Management GmbH was commissioned to develop the new Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The company is a Joint Venture (50% stake each) of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme. The company is still responsible for the ongoing maintenance and management of the Puma fleet.

Development Time Line

  • November 2008 – Significant Progress at the Integrated Demonstration and Qualification Trials for the Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle
  • March 2009 – The Puma undergoes Trial and Qualification Tests with the German Army. The trials focused on the effectiveness of the weapon system in an operational environment, the handling of the platform as an integrated entity as well as the integration with the Soldier of the Future System (IdZ-ES). The Trials concluded with live firing tests at day (static and dynamic) and night (static only).
  • July 2009 – The German Defence Procurement Office places an order for 405 Puma IFV with GmbH PSM.
  • August 2010 – GmbH PSM announce that the Puma series production is in full swing.
  • January 2012 – Puma starts 3 months of extreme cold climatic testing in Norway.
  • July 2012 – Qualification Trial Period for the Puma is extended until September 2013.
  • September 2013 – Puma successfully completes extreme hot climatic testing in UAE. Number of Puma ordered reduced to 350.
  • April 2015 – Puma receives its user certificate and officially accepted in to service with the German Army.
  • June 2015 – GmbH PSM formally hand over the Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle to the German Army.
  • June 2018 – GmbH PSM presents the expanded capabilities Puma S1.

Firepower

Main & Second Guns

The Puma Infantry Fighting Vehicle uses a Remote-Controlled Turret armed with the Rheinmetall 30mm MK30-2/ABM auto-cannon and is fully stabilized for effective fire on the move. The Puma RCT stores 200 30mm rounds and is capable of firing Rheinmetall’s latest range of  30mm ammuntion, including its air-burst round (ABM). An additional 200 rounds are stored with the crew. The secondary weapons include a coaxial 5.56mm Machine Gun.

Anti-Tank Capability

As part of the Puma S1 capability enhancements, the vehicle has been equipped with the “Multirole-capable Light Missile System” aka “MELLS”. The addition of this new capability did not require any additional modifications to existing systems.

The dual Spike-LR Anti-Tank Guided Missile launcher contains two firing pods and is attached to the left side of the turret. The existing sighting and fire control systems are also used for detection and firing of the missiles, which have a tandem charge warhead for defeating ERA and have a range of four kilometres.

The Israeli Spike ATGM is produced in Europe by Eurospike GmbH, which Rheinmetall owns 40% of.

Fire Control Systems

The Puma features a state of the art Fire Control System and stabilized sighting devices, including a Commanders Independent Sight, which provides the Puma with a Hunter Killer Capability, just like that of a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank.

As part of Puma S1 enhancements, the sighting systems have received new colourised high definition optics, providing an increased range.

Protection

The Puma relies on 3 key features to achieve its high levels of protection for the crew and Infantry. Firstly, the MUltifunctional Self protection System aka “MUSS” (soft-kill Active Protection System).

Secondly, the Modular Armor Package and its increased surface coverage deployment and thirdly, the internal layout. The engine is mounted in the front of the hull and the turret is unmanned, with the crew operating it from within the armored hull.

Both the engine bay and crew compartment have been fitted with a fire suppression system and has full NBC protection.

The Puma’s Modular Armor comes in 2 configurations. The basic version refered too as “Level A” meaning Air-transportable, includes full mine protection and ballistic protection on a high level. The up armored version is refered to as “Level C” meaning Combat.

Puma Level A

Set across the front and upper sections of the hull are welded on passive armor fixing points. Attached to these fixings are plates of AMAP Armor (AMAP-B). The manufacturer states that the AMAP-B combined with the Puma’s hull steel offers protection to Level 5 of STANAG 4569 against KE rounds.

Puma Level C

The current in-service Level C modular armor package has changed from what was originally displayed pre-June 2015 (Puma handover), which was Passive Armor (Red). During the Puma’s hot climatic testing in the UAE, a modular Reactive Armor kit was added (as seen at Eurosatory 2014).

The current Puma IFV hull modular armor Level C, features Bar Armor (Blue), Passive Armor (Yellow) and Reactive Armor (Green).

The Reactive Armor is supplied by Dynamit Nobel Defense group, as may well be the rest of the modular Armor. The added passive turret Armor (Yellow) is most likely AMAP-B. The added armor weights almost 10 tonnes and has to be removed for transportation on an Airbus A400M aircraft.

MUSS Active Protection System

The system comprises x4 sensors for 360 degree detection of targeting lasers and ATGM, a Jammer and x2 banks of smoke grenade launchers to fire masking counter measures.

Mobility

The Puma’s mobility is equal too that of the Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tank. The Puma IFV powerpack is an MTU 800Kw diesel (generating 1088 hp) coupled to the HSWL 256 transmission. This has x6 forward and reverse gears. The suspension system is Hydropneumatic, which provides the vehicle with a smoother ride and reduces the occupants fatigue.

Variants and Marks

Puma S1

Unveiled in 2018, the S1 offers improvements in firepower, detection and communications:

  • Installation of MELLS Anti-Tank Guided Missile
  • New replacement optics for Gunner and Commanders sights
  • Improvements in Situational Awareness cameras (day and night) providing a 360 degree view around the vehicle for the driver and embarked infantry (refereed to the ability to see through and around the vehicle)
  • The facility to connect to the latest version of the IdZ-ES soldier system and the BMS command system
  • Made ready for the future installation of the TSWA “Turret-independent Secondary Weapon System”

VJTF 2023

The leading nation of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force is rotated every year and in 2023 the VJTF was led by Germany until the UK took over in 2024.

In preparation, 40 Puma were upgraded to the S1 standard and received additional modifications, namely the latest IdZ-ES soldier system, Rheinmetalls “System Panzergrenadier” was installed as well as Software Defined Radios (SDR) and satellite radio.

Puma S2

At the unveiling of the Puma S1 in 2018, it was stated that “the further improvements will be combined into two packages (PUMA S1 and PUMA S2)”. Whilst there is no clarification on the S2, it could be the installation of the TSWA.

It is mounted on the rear of the vehicle and operated independently of the main turret. It features both lethal and non-lethal munitions.

Operators

Germany is the only operator of the Puma. Delivery of 342 vehicles plus 8 driver training vehicles is now complete.

In June 2021, PSM received an order to retrofit 154 Puma vehicles to the Puma S1 standard with a follow on order to retrofit an additional 143 vehicles in April 2023 with a scheduled completion date of 2029, bringing the number of Pumas to the S1 (including 40 VJTF) standard to 337.

In addition, 50 newly built Puma S1 were ordered in May 2023, bringing the fleet to 387 (excluding training vehicles).

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
30mm MK30-2/ABM
ATGM Capability
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x400 30mm rounds
Engine
10-cylinder engine delivering 800 kW at 4250 rpm Diesel (Multi-Fuelled)
Transmission
HSWL 256 x6 speed Automatic
Top Road Speed
70 km/h
Road Range
500 km
Fuel Capacity
?
Vertical Obstacle
0.8m
Water Capability
1.2m
Trench Crossing
2.5m
Gradient
?
Side Slope
?
Length Gun Forward
n/a
Length Hull
7.6m
Width
3.9m
Height
3.6m
Ground Clearance
?
Weight
43 tonne, combat
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Composite, Bar, Modular, Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Active Protection Systems
soft_kill
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Driver
Infantry
6

References