The German Army (Bundeswehr) has taken delivery of the first Puma armoured infantry fighting vehicle from Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).
Approximately 350 infantry fighting vehicles are scheduled to be supplied by PSM, a joint venture of Rheinmetall and KMW, under a €4.3bn contract awarded by Bundeswehr in 2004.
The newly delivered vehicle is equipped with MK30-2 / ABM 30mm automatic cannon and programmable ammunition, which allows for effective engagement of an array of targets, even behind cover.
Additional features include advanced optics, optronics, and sensors that enable early detection and high-precision engagement of emerging threats, as well as a modular protection system comprising active and passive components.
The system safeguards soldiers against mines, improvised explosive devices, bomblets, shrapnel, and ballistic threats, such as shaped charges and kinetic energy rounds.
Due to the presence of hydro-pneumatic chassis and powerful engine, the Puma can operate even in the toughest terrain with a top speed of 70km/h, which enables it to function in tandem with the Leopard 2 tank on the battlefield.
In addition, the vehicles feature command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) technology, which simplifies the operation of the vehicle for the driver, while also bringing the Puma directly into the networked operations loop.
The vehicles, which will be delivered by 2020, are scheduled to replace the German Army's existing fleet of Marder IFVs that entered service more than 40 years ago.
The German Army has also started a training programme at the German Army training centre in Munster, to train soldiers to operate the vehicle by the end of this year.
In addition, a special organisation has been established in Munster, to provide mechanised infantry companies with three months of initial training in the new vehicle.
After completion of the three-month course, the units return to their home base with their newly issued Pumas.
PSM and the Bundeswehr have signed the necessary contracts for maintenance and provision of long-term technical / logistical support for vehicle.
Image: The Bundeswehr's deployment of the Puma IFV provides its mechanised infantry with a new main weapons system. Photo: copyright 2015 Rheinmetall AG.