The first batch of Puma, manufactured jointly by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, is expected to be received as early as 2024.
Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on May 10 that the German government had approved the procurement of 50 Puma infantry fighting vehicles from the German defense group Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The deal is worth about 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion), about $32 million each, including spare parts. Each Puma armored vehicle, in fact, costs from 10-14 million USD each depending on the quantity ordered. Its price increased significantly due to the expensive cost of spare parts throughout the service life due to the state-of-the-art of this weapon.
The first batch of Puma, manufactured jointly by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, is expected to be received as early as 2024. The Puma IFV is already in service with the German army; about 350 vehicles are currently in operation. Due to the new purchase, the total number of Pumas in service will reach approximately 400 units. The order for Puma infantry fighting vehicles is part of Germany’s new military modernization policy that was triggered by the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The Puma is the latest generation of German infantry fighting vehicles, which has been in service with the German Army since 2015. Strong weapon system, extremely good self-defense ability and advanced electronic system, are the outstanding advantages of this combat vehicle. And it is also among the most expensive armored vehicles in the world.
At 31.5 tons, it’s a bit heavier than its predecessor, the Marder, but the modular AMAP composite armor seems to withstand significantly more threats. The cabin is air conditioned, NBC-proof with internal nuclear and chemical sensors and has a fire suppressing system using non-toxic agents. The engine compartment has its own fire extinguishing system.
The outer hull is very smooth and low to minimize shot traps and the general visual signature. The whole combat-ready vehicle in its base configuration will be air transportable in the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter. The Puma infantry fighting vehicle has a crew of three, while it can accommodate up to eight infantrymen in the rear compartment. Passengers enter and leave the vehicle via rear power-operated ramp.
The base model has a front and flank protection against 30 mm rounds, while vehicle has an all-round protection against 14.5 mm machine gun fire. The most protected variant can be considered as a heavy IFV. Additional armor modules can be fitted, increasing Puma’s weight to 43 tons. Furthermore in this configuration it it is even heavier than the T-72 main battle tank. It seems that the most protected variant of the Puma withstands 120- and 125 mm projectiles over the front arc. Vehicle also withstands mine blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT.
Vehicle is armed with a remotely operated weapon station. It includes a Mauser 30 mm dual-fed cannon. This cannon is used on Austrian Ulan and Spanish Pizarro IFVs, which has an effective range of 3 km. The Puma will be armed with an ATGW launcher, however its type is still unknown. Possibly it will be Spike or one of its variants. Secondary armament consists of a 5.56 mm machine gun and a 76 mm grenade launcher for a close-range defense.
The vehicle is fitted with an MTU V10 diesel engine, with a capacity of 1,073 horsepower, for a maximum speed of up to 70 km/h and a range of 600 km. Puma’s engine is even more powerful than some main battle tanks. For example the original T-72 tank had a 720 hp engine, while a current Russian T-90A main battle tank is powered by a 1,000 hp engine. This German IFV is not amphibious due to its weight.
The Puma offers improvements in situational awareness. The fully stabilized 360° periscope with six different zoom stages offers a direct glass optic link to either the commander or the gunner. The periscope offers an optronic thermal vision mode and a wide-angle camera with three zoom stages to assist the driver, as well as a laser range finder. The whole array is hunter-killer capable. The commander also has five vision blocks. Apart from the glass optic periscope view directly accessible directly by the commander and gunner and indirectly via the CCD camera. The whole crew has access to the onboard intercom.
Puma has been in service with the German Army since April 2015. Potential and future operators are Chile and Croatia. Nato members are also very interested in this German infantry fighting vehicle.