The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support has announced that it has commissioned Projekt System & Management, a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall, to upgrade 143 PUMA infantry fighting vehicles.

The order volume for the upgrade is €770m.

Keeping the PUMA’s up to date

According to GlobalData’s “German Armed Forces Equipment Inventory 2022″, the German Armed Forces had 345 Puma Armored Personnel Carriers from procurement in 2015. The first lot S1 upgrade contract was ordered in 2021, with the contract value at €1.24bn.

The upgrade will initiate two options that are part of the 2021 contract for upgrading the serial PUMA infantry fighting vehicle to the new design status S1. By 2029, Germany will bring all key firepower capabilities and command and control of all 143 Puma systems up to date. This upgrade will ensure that every Puma in the Bundeswehr inventory conforms to the uniform S1 design status.

The German Army received its first Puma armoured infantry fighting vehicle from Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in 2015. The original contract was awarded in 2004 and valued at €4.3bn. The system safeguards soldiers against mines, improvised explosive devices, bomblets, shrapnel, and ballistic threats, such as shaped charges and kinetic energy rounds.

With 4.3% of the European military land vehicles market, Rheinmetall is projected to be the fourth largest player in the region, according to The Global Military Land Vehicles Market 2022-2032 report from GlobalData.

The upgrade includes integrating high-resolution camera systems with day and night vision capability, the multi-role light-guided missile system (MELLS), and the integration of digital radio equipment. These enhancements will improve the PUMA’s combat capabilities and situational awareness, making it an effective tool for the Bundeswehr.

The PUMA is a heavily armoured and well-armed infantry fighting vehicle that the Bundeswehr uses for missions such as reconnaissance, security patrols, and combat operations. The vehicle is designed to operate in various environments, ranging from urban areas to open terrain, and can engage both ground and air targets.

Busy with modernisation and procurements

The decision to upgrade the PUMA fleet is part of the German Army’s busy ongoing efforts to modernise its equipment, particularly its infantry fighting vehicles, and maintain its readiness for any potential conflict.

The upgrade work is expected to begin soon, and the first upgraded PUMAs are scheduled to be delivered to the Bundeswehr soon.

In a separate armoured vehicle system development announced yesterday, Germany has joined the Common Armored Vehicle System Programme (CAVS) research and development programme led by Finland, Latvia and Sweden, suggesting it will also order the 6×6 armoured vehicle developed by Patria.