Land Panther: Germany’s Tracked Puma IFV
February 6/20: Simulation Technology German company Rheinmetall announced that it will soon be supplying the German Bundeswehr with simulation technology that will enable highly realistic training of mechanized infantry units equipped with the Puma IFV. The deal is valued at $156.7 million. At the end of 2019, Rheinmetall received order to this effect from the consortium responsible for the Puma for the AGDUS duel simulator, which had in turn been awarded the contract by the Bundeswehr on December 20. Once the system is ready for full-scale serial production, an option exists for equipping 252 infantry fighting vehicles. Each AGDUS set consists of laser detectors arrayed around the vehicle as well as eye-safe lasers capable of simulating the effects of the Puma’s principal weapon systems, machinegun and MELLS antitank guided missile.
Germany has always been known for producing excellent armored vehicles. A combination of features that arguably make it the world’s best tank, and fire sale prices stemming from Germany’s rapid disarmament, have made the Leopard 2 the standard main battle tank in Europe and beyond. The same level of innovation and execution was shown in the late 1960s, when Germany’s Marder became the west’s first Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). Designs like the American M2/M3 Bradley, Sweden’s CV90 family and new SEP, Singapore’s Bionix-II, and Korea’s new XK-21 have stepped far beyond that legacy, however, and even the Russian region has continued to update their BMP designs. Meanwhile, the nature of military operations has changed to emphasize modularity, out of country missions, advanced electronic communications, and strong protection against threats like land mines.
The Marders need to be replaced, and this became a priority even within Germany’s limited defense budget. In response, German armored vehicle leaders Rheinmetall & KMW formed a 50/50 joint venture to design and produce a solution that would address these issues, and return Germany to a leadership position in the tracked IFV field. Enter the new Puma IFV – which has just received a EUR 3 billion production order from Germany.
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