Land Panther: Germany’s Tracked Puma IFV
June 8/18: Severe delays The German Bundesrechnungshof, an agency comparable to the US Government Accountability Office is warning that the federal procurement of the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle will take years longer than previously thought. The Puma is jointly developed in a joint venture between Kraus-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall is responsible for the development and design of the chassis. The vehicle is operated by a crew of three and carries up to eight equipped troops in the rear troop compartment. The vehicle is of modular construction which allows it to be fully air transportable on an A400M aircraft. The Puma is armed with a remotely controlled weapon station, developed by Kraus-Maffei Wegmann, which is fitted with a dual feed Mauser 30mm MK 30-2 cannon. Rheinmetall is responsible for the integration of the Mauser cannon and the ammunition handling system. At the current rate the integration of all required features into the platform will take until 2029, meaning that German ground forces will have to rely on the predecessor tank, the 40-some-year-old Marder. Preparations for sustaining the Marder beyond its envisioned end of life in 2025 are already underway, including retrofitting the vehicles with the MELLS anti-tank weapon.
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.
Puma IFV: Platform & Features
Puma IFV: Project and Industrial Organization
Puma IFV: Contracts & Key Events
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