Puma (armored personnel carrier)

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Puma infantry fighting vehicle in a near-series configuration.  The MELLS weapon system and the jammer of the MUSS system are not installed.

Puma infantry fighting vehicle in a near-series configuration. The MELLS weapon system and the jammer of the MUSS system are not installed.

General properties
crew 3 (driver, commander, gunner) + 6 (rifle squad)
length 7.60 m
width 3.43 m protection level A
3.90 m protection level C
height approx. 3.60 m
Dimensions Protection level A = 31.45 tons
Protection level C = 41 tons
maximum 43 tons
Main armament 1 × 30 mm MK 30 -2 / ABM
Secondary armament 1 × 5.56mm MG4
explosive device 76mm
Spike LR
Protection systems
Armor modular, composite armor  ( AMAP )
ERA additional armor
Distance-active systems GOT TO
Mine protection strength STANAG 4569 Level IVa, 10 kg anti-tank mine and EFP mine under chain
drive V10 diesel engine, 892 High Power Density (MT 892 Ka-501) from MTU Friedrichshafen
800 kW (1090 PS)
suspension hydropneumatic
Top speed 70 km / h (road)
Power / weight 25 kW / ton (protection level A)
19.5 kW / ton (protection level C)
Range 600 km (road)
Mobility test vehicle VS2 with weight simulators in WTD 41. The armored personnel carrier has had six rollers since 2008.

The Puma is an armored personnel carrier that is developed and produced by the German armaments companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH (RLS). The Puma is to be procured for the German army in a number of 350 vehicles and will replace the Marder armored personnel carrier. The original plan was 405 units for the troop plus five pre-production vehicles. The first pumas were delivered on December 6, 2010. The delivery of the series models to the troops began on April 17, 2015 after the army inspector formally declared the takeover four days in advance.

The Puma is currently the heaviest, most expensive and most powerful armored personnel carrier in the world. Although it is considered to be ultra-modern, it is subject to a large time lag and high cost increases. Due to many technical deficiencies and necessary retrofitting, full operational readiness is unofficially not Template: future / in 5 yearsexpected before the year 2030 .


Project planning and implementation

The origins of the Puma go back to 1996. It is based on the New Armored Platform (NGP) project, which provided a universal platform for various weapon systems. Since the armored personnel carrier was supposed to have the same armor protection as the main battle tank, initial concept studies for the NGP AFV showed a combat weight of 55 to 72 tons. Due to the tight budget situation, it was already foreseeable in 1998 that a parallel development of three systems (MBT, AFV, FlaPz) would not be feasible. On February 26, 1998, the further development of the armored personnel carrier was decided and the tactical concept of the new armored personnel carrier (NeSPz) was approved, which at times was run under the project names Panther and Igel .

The situation changed completely when, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, armed forces capable of air deployability were given preference. Due to the requirement for air transportability of the new armored personnel carrier in the Airbus A400M , the air transport weight was set at 32 tons. Nevertheless, the plans for a new armored personnel carrier were retained. After the procurement of an upgraded Combat Vehicle 90 was rejected, the development contract for an infantry fighting vehicle developed in Germany was finally concluded in autumn 2002 after several crisis meetings. The execution is carried out by Projekt System & Management GmbH (originally PANTHER System & Management GmbH , later Projekt System & Management GmbH ), a joint venture between KMW and RLS. The contract included the delivery of a complete system demonstrator (GSD) in December 2005. In addition to the GSD, the contract also includes three subsystem demonstrators (TSD) for weapons / ammunition as well as mobility and protection. They served as proof of the feasibility of the project to the then Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB).

In December 2004, the BWB signed a contract for the delivery of five advanced pre-series vehicles with an option for 405 additional armored personnel carriers. The pre-series vehicles were delivered on schedule in 2006. They were used to prove the suitability of the system at the defense technology departments of the BWB and to uncover weak points.

The option should be confirmed on November 8, 2007, but was postponed to 2009 due to technical problems. For example, in the 6th assessment report on the PUMA armored personnel carrier project of the Federal Ministry of Defense of May 6, 2009, problems with the drive train and the Drive reported. Despite considerable reservations from the Federal Audit Office, the budget committee of the Bundestag approved the order for the armored personnel carriers and the contract was signed in early July 2009. A total of 405 pieces were ordered at a total price of 3.1 billion euros. On July 11, 2012, an amendment contract was concluded between manufacturers and the BMVg, which provides for a reduction in the number of pieces to 350. The total price for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle has almost doubled since the first parliamentary referral. "For the production of the 350 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, 5.989 billion euros are currently planned," said the Ministry of Defense in response to a request from the Left MP Matthias Höhn.

Due to the technical problems, it was initially only planned to deliver ten Puma by 2012, on which the operational readiness should be tested and, if necessary, improved. On December 6, 2010, the first two Puma series vehicles were handed over to the responsible Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement for verification. The completion of the delivery is still planned for 2020. After eliminating some defects, the tank was tested again. Among other things, the telecommunications system in WTD 41 in Trier and WTD 81 Greding was checked.

On April 13, 2015 the inspector of the army declared the formal takeover of the armored personnel carrier, whereupon on April 17, 2015 the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Federal Armed Forces granted the “permit for use”. The future weapons system instructors were trained at the training center in Munster by the end of 2015. Seven vehicles were initially available for this purpose, which were supplemented by additional armored personnel carriers in the following months. This is followed by the three-month courses for the initial training of the armored infantry company.

In June 2019, the BMVg announced the procurement of a second construction lot with 210 vehicles. As part of the growth of the tank grenadiers and the task-oriented equipment with armored vehicles, the service life of the Marder armored personnel carrier was planned to be extended until at least 2025. At the same time, alternatives were examined: another Puma, a further increase in combat value of the marten and the procurement of the GTK Boxer in an IFV variant. The army had spoken out in favor of the Puma in advance after weighing up the costs and effort.

Puma as a platform

In contrast to the NGP project, the Puma is not designed to create a modular vehicle family. Due to the front engine and an interior volume of 10 m³, other combat vehicles can also be realized on the basis of the Puma. According to the Bundeswehr's new procurement plan, it can also be used as a rescue, transport or anti-aircraft tank.

A consortium led by SAIC had offered a vehicle based on the Puma in the US armaments program GCV IFV . The GCV combat vehicle was designed for a crew of a total of twelve soldiers and, like the NGP AFV, should have a total weight of around 50 tons, with a growth potential of more than 60 tons. An unmanned turret with a 40 mm automatic cannon of the type MK44 with "Super 40" cartridges and an axially parallel 7.62 mm machine gun were provided as armament . The manufacturing location should be the United States. After the rejection of the concept, SAIC filed a lawsuit with the Government Accountability Office, which was rejected as unjustified.

The Puma's gearbox and caterpillar tracks are also said to be used in the UK Future Rapid Effect System .

Participating companies

In addition to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme as main contractors, a number of other companies are working on the project. These include, among others, Autoflug (seats, fuel system), Diehl Remscheid (caterpillar tracks, drive rings), Dräger Safety (NBC protection system), ESW (generator, on-board power supply, electric fans, weapon straightening system ), Heckler and Koch , Kidde Deugra extinguishing systems, MTU Friedrichshafen ( Triebwerk), Oerlikon Contraves, Renk (gearbox), Rexxon (air conditioning), Schleifring und Apparatebau and Hensoldt Optronics (formerly Cassidian Optronics and Carl Zeiss Optronics) (optics).


Combat compartment of the mobility test vehicle VS2

The Puma is an infantry fighting vehicle with a remote-controlled and unmanned tower, the basic configuration of which can be air-loaded with the future tactical air transport vehicle of the German armed forces, the Airbus A400M . The crew consists of nine people who are accommodated in a continuous combat area. It is divided into a rifle squad consisting of six soldiers and a permanent vehicle crew made up of a group leader (GrpFhr), a squad leader weapon system (TrpFhrWaSys) and a driver (MKF). The rifle squad consists of the squad leader and five riflemen (machine gunner, bazooka, group rifle scope and two other tank grenadiers). In exceptional cases, the number of seats with the group leader increases to seven. The vehicle is then guided by the squad leader weapon system (gunner).

In the vehicle, the driver sits in the front left and the gunner behind him. This operates the weapon system and sits in front of the rotating support of the tower. Slip rings transmit the control signals. The group leader sits to the right of the gunner and has his own sliding hatch. It supports the driver in driving the tank in traffic. Due to the asymmetrical arrangement of the tower on the left side of the vehicle, the group leader has a direct view of the soldiers in the rear of the fighting area and of the troop leader.

In contrast to the Marder armored personnel carrier, the rifle troop soldiers sit opposite each other with their backs to the outer walls. Four soldiers sit on the right and two soldiers on the left. A central shelf under the tower serves as storage space for the equipment. The fighting area has a fire suppression system (BUA) as fire protection. Equipped with infrared detectors, the system extinguishes any fires that occur in 150 milliseconds. According to the manufacturer, the gaseous extinguishing agent DeuGen-N is harmless to health. The entire interior is made "mine-proof" and has no contact with the bottom of the tub. A planned combat stand for two soldiers in the partially open tailgate was discarded because of the increased self-endangerment. The conventionally designed tailgate led to an enlargement of the interior and enabled a two-man folding hatch on the roof as well as improved protection in the rear area. The squad leader has his own sliding hatch. In the tailgate there is a window made of armored glass , which is covered on the inside by a door made of sheet steel.

In addition to being used by the Panzer Grenadiers, the Puma is also used as a training vehicle. The possibility as a platform for joint Fire Support Team (JFST) - as a system composite of artillery observers and advanced observers of mortar and forward air the Luftwaffe - the mechanized forces was discarded in favor of GTK Boxer. The task of these teams is to steer joint tactical fire support with the fire of artillery , mortars and close air support into the target as part of the armed forces .


Drive and drive

Puma engine. In the foreground the six-speed gearbox HSWL 256.
Test vehicle mobility (VT-Mob). The complete chassis without the tower was used by the BWB as proof of compliance. Ballast weights are attached to the chassis to simulate the non-existent turret and additional armor.

A 10-cylinder compact engine from MTU Friedrichshafen with an output of 800 kW and the six-speed HSWL 256 gearbox with electrohydraulic adaptive control from Renk are intended to achieve mobility comparable to the Leopard 2 battle tank . The driving tests with the mobility test vehicles showed, however, that a displacement increase to 11 liters and a revision of the torque curve of the transmission are necessary. The radiator grills, which were moved to the upper front plate, have also been revised. The engine, which is installed in the same way as an L , is to the right of the driver. The steering gearbox is installed transversely in front of the driver.

For the first time in a Bundeswehr tank, the engine has a flywheel starter generator with central power electronics with a nominal output of around 170 kW to supply the two electric cooler fans and drive the refrigerant compressor in the air conditioning system. The 24 V on-board network is fed from the power electronics via a bidirectional converter with up to 800 A, which is also used to start the diesel engine from the vehicle battery.

For fire protection, the engine compartment has a fire extinguishing system from Kidde Deugra Brandschutzsysteme.

Another innovation compared to the marten is the decoupled hydropneumatic support roller drive manufactured by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann . The entire chassis is only connected to the vehicle pan via rubber elements. This reduces the structure-borne noise level from 120  dBA to around 96 dBA and enables the crew to stay longer in the vehicle. The suspension is implemented with so-called "hydrops" (hydropneumatic springs), which generate the spring force with compressible gas. A temperature effect compensation system prevents changes in temperature in the gas springs from affecting the drive characteristics. In contrast to torsion bar suspension , this design is compact and does not require any space on the vehicle floor. The ground clearance is also kept at a constant 450 mm, regardless of the protection level. The main fuel tanks are also located in the drive carriers. A central extraction tank ensures a continuous supply of fuel.

The Puma uses a tubular steel body construction with rubber bearings and rubber pads from the Diehl company as the crawler track . Due to the requirement of air transport, the lightweight chain DLT 464D is 40% lighter than the crawler track of the Leopard 1 , but has the same resistance. Originally planned with only five pairs of rollers per side, it became clear during the driving tests that six rollers are necessary.


The armor of the Puma is modular and has two levels of protection. It was designed in such a way that with the armor of protection level A (airportable) it will be air-deployable with the future military transport aircraft Airbus A400M . In order not to exceed the required tactical air transport weight of 31.45 t, the equipment carried is limited to 1 t. In protection level A, it is frontally protected against anti-tank weapons (e.g. the RPG-7 ) and medium-caliber weapons ( 30 mm), all around against artillery fragments and against heavy blast and projectile-forming mines (10 kg).

Protection level C (combat) is achieved with modular additional armor. This includes tower, bomblet , mine and front protection. The armor reinforces the protection on the sides and roof. This protects it against anti-tank hand and medium-caliber weapons and bomblets. Compared to the pre-series model, the series vehicles in protection level C are equipped with reactive armor (ERA) from the Dynamit Nobel Defense group. Additional side skirts cover the drive up to the middle of the rollers. A total of 200 sets were procured by the Bundeswehr. The weight per set is 1 t and contains 500 kg of explosives. The assembly time is given as 3 to 4 hours.

The originally planned protection level B (rail transport) was omitted because the Puma also complies with the rail loading dimension in protection level C. The Puma has an ABC collective protection system from Dräger , and an AC sensor is also integrated. The exhaust gases are mixed with fresh air and expelled to the left at the height of the landing gear in order to reduce the infrared signature. Further infrared reduction is achieved by applying an appropriate camouflage coating.

The Puma is also equipped with a soft kill system from EADS . This multifunctional self-protection system (MUST) detects approaching missiles and disrupts their steering sensors. According to PSM, it is also possible to install a hardkill system .


The vehicle is equipped with an on-board intercom (BV) and radio system. This contains the Thales SOTAS IP vision system and a radio system with an SEM 80/90 ( VHF ) and an HRM 7400 ( HF ). The armored personnel carrier is equipped with a command and weapon deployment system (FüWES) for information processing. The system should enable friend-foe recognition and connection to existing systems of the Bundeswehr such as FAUST (command equipment, tactical), the infantryman of the future concept or the command information system of the army (FüInfoSys H). FüWES runs on the hardened vehicle computer CENTURION from ATM ComputerSysteme from Constance. The radio devices are connected via another computer, KommServer . The FüWES is operated via a 15 "LC display (MDU), which hangs in the middle under the periscope and can thus be reached by the gunner and the commander.

Fire control and aiming equipment

Main optics PERI RTWL for the group leader.
Gun optics of the gunner. To the right one of the MUST sensors.
MUST sensors on Puma IFV turret.JPG
MUST sensors on the left front tower front in detail.

During its demonstration, the Puma had stabilized main optics (PERI, RTWL-B) for the group and squad leader and specially protected stabilized weapon optics (WAO) for the gunner. The two systems manufactured by Hensoldt Optronics have a day vision channel, ATTICA thermal imaging device and LDM 38 laser rangefinder. Images of the main optics can be displayed on two screens for the group and squad leader using a CCD camera . The periscope has a total of four fields of view. For use in built-up areas and in close proximity, the group leader has a field of view of 60 ° × 45 °. Three further fields of view with up to 16x magnification are available for observation, aiming and identification. In addition to the digital output, the optics also have an optical channel including laser protection for the eyes. The Nd: YAG laser used to determine the distance measures distances up to 40 kilometers with an accuracy of 5 meters, taking into account distances from 200 meters. In the case of multiple echoes, you can choose between first and last echo utilization. In addition, the observer is shown information about the tower position, distance, target mark, navigation and system data during day or night vision. Due to the digital signal processing, the entire system is network-compatible, which enables a connection to existing systems of the Bundeswehr. The weapon optics in connection with the fire control system of the Puma enables the shooter to fight targets while driving. Overall, the WAO has a day vision CCD camera with a zoom lens and three fields of view, according to the tactical requirements. The driver is equipped with a night vision device and has a screen for the rear camera.


The armament of the armored personnel carrier consists of a primary and secondary armament, including a smoke device and an explosive device. The on-board machine cannon and machine gun are housed in the fully automated tower. Sensors and actuators monitor the function and charge status of the main weapon.

A new feature compared to the marten is the stabilization of the weapon and the “ hunter-killer ability”, known from battle tanks. If the commander clears up an enemy with his periscope, he hands the target to the gunner. The turret then automatically aligns itself to the target and the gunner can fight it while the commander searches for further targets.

Primary armament

The MK 30-2 / ABM on the test vehicle VS-2 mobility of the WTD 41. Here the MG4 is not scaffolded, and the pipe support is still missing.
The measuring base on the muzzle of the main weapon

The main armament is a 30 mm on- board machine gun of the type MK 30-2 / ABM, manufactured by Rheinmetall, which is installed off-center on the right in the remote-controlled turret. It is a further development of the MK30-2, which is already used in the Austrian Ulan infantry fighting vehicle and in the Spanish Pizarro. Armored vehicles can be fought with the automatic cannon up to a distance of 2000 meters and with the air burst ammunition (ABM) up to 3000 meters. The weapon can be fired both in single and in rapid series fire (200 rounds / min.). It weighs 198 kilograms and consists of a weapon housing, barrel, double belt feeder (DGZ) and return device. Due to the thermal loads, the drawn inner tube and the cartridge chamber are chrome-plated. The elevation range is −10 ° to + 45 °.

In addition to armor-piercing APFSDS-T projectiles (arrow balancing projectile with tracer), there is also the option of firing special KETF ammunition (Kinetic Energy Time Fuze) , which is also known as AHEAD ammunition. This Air Burst ammunition is manufactured by RWM Switzerland, which, like the manufacturer of the muzzle brake with measuring base (Oerlikon Contraves), is a subsidiary of Rheinmetall Defense. The ammunition allows use against armored personnel carriers, helicopters, infantry and fortified positions. The effect of the ammunition is based on 162 cylindrical tungsten sub-projectiles, each weighing 1.24 grams, which - depending on the time setting - are ejected after a pre-calculated flight time or before the target. The individual projectiles are twist-stabilized and fly in a narrow cone towards the target. The time is only set when leaving the tube in the measuring base after the muzzle velocity has been measured. In the case of heavily armored targets, it can be used without setting the time.

The total ammunition supply is 400 cartridges. A worm magazine with 200 cartridges is housed in the rear of the tower. If the main supply is used up, the reserve can be reloaded manually from above. Loading from the inside is not possible. Both types of ammunition can be fired in direct alternation with the machine cannon's double belt feeder. In the series configuration, the cannon is surrounded by a pipe support, which increases the probability of being hit when moving towards the target.

30 mm ammunition for the PUMA armored personnel carrier

Secondary armament

The secondary armament consists of the MG4 in caliber 5.56 millimeters. It is arranged axially parallel and is due to the case ejection to the right and the ammunition feed from the left, right of the main weapon. In contrast to the infantry version, this turret machine gun (TMG) lacks the shoulder rest, bipod and sighting device. The maximum combat distance is given as 1000 meters. The ammunition supply is 1000 cartridges plus 1000 cartridge reserve.

For defense at close range (50 meters), the Puma has an explosive device (SKWA) with a caliber of 76 millimeters. This is mounted on the rear left of the vehicle and has a swivel range of 90 ° around the rear of the vehicle. Operation is carried out by the squad leader.

The smoke launch system is based on established systems. Two groups with four throwing cups each are arranged at the rear of the tower and can be triggered individually or together.

For anti-tank and helicopter defense , the Puma in the German army is equipped with the Spike-LR guided missile from the German-Dutch-Israeli armaments consortium EuroSpike GmbH. The MELLS weapon system (multi-role light guided missile system) from the procurement project for the infantry serves as the starting device. This is adapted to the side of the tower and offers space for two guided missiles.


The concept of the Puma has been criticized several times in public, among other things because of its high weight. The Puma can only be transported in protection level A in the Airbus A400M military transport aircraft . In order to deliver the modules for protection level C (C = Combat) for three Pumas, another flight is required, which means that the transport costs are a third higher than for its predecessor, the Marder . In addition, there is the effort involved in dismantling and assembling the modules.

The use of an axially parallel machine gun with the small caliber 5.56 × 45 mm NATO was also criticized . This is so far unique and has advantages of ammunition standardization compared to the usual secondary armament in caliber 7.62 × 51 mm NATO , but disadvantages in terms of firing range and penetration power . Therefore, there are considerations to use the old caliber of 7.62 mm again, but this should not happen before 2020.

In addition, the enormous cost increases and the long delay were criticized. A large number of requests for changes and high bureaucratic requirements such as a total of 117 statutory provisions and regulations to be complied with drove up the costs, including, for example, the requirement that, according to the workplace ordinance, conditions must be observed in the interior, according to which the transport of pregnant soldiers must also be possible . With a unit price of 17.14 million euros, the Puma is now the most expensive armored personnel carrier in the world, which is also due to the allocation of development costs to the previously expected order volume of just 350 units. Further units could be offered or bought more cheaply. Traditional customers of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme such as the Dutch army have decided against the Puma and in favor of the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90 (CV9035). After the aforementioned various change requests during development, there are still delays in establishing full operational readiness, even with vehicles that have already been delivered. The integration of the anti-tank missile into the overall system will probably take up to five years. As early as 2013 there was a list of deficiencies with almost 1000 items, which showed many weak points in the project. For the retrofitting of just 40 tanks alone, which are to belong to the NATO Rapid Reaction Force from 2023 , half a billion euros are estimated. Furthermore, there are sometimes serious deficiencies in the communication equipment, optical devices, software and the supply of spare parts. The costs of all necessary retrofits are put at up to four billion euros.

In the predecessor armored personnel carrier Marder, tank grenadiers of up to 1.96 meters in height can be used, with the Puma only tank grenadiers of the six-person rifle squad up to 1.84 meters in height. In the front part of the puma, the maximum size of the driver, commander and gunner is limited to 1.91 meters. In printed paper 19/6770 "Status of the introduction and use of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle and an overview of the measures to improve its operational readiness", the Federal Government stated in 2018 that 86 percent of the armored infantrymen serving at the time can be deployed without restriction. Another 12 percent are limited to the vehicle crew. 2 percent could not be used.

In October 2019 it became known that the cost of retrofitting the 41 Puma tanks for use by the NATO Rapid Reaction Force in 2023 had now been estimated at 723.5 million euros. According to an armaments report by the ministry, the probability that the 41 tanks for the NATO Rapid Reaction Force will be ready for use from 2023 is only 30 percent. Spare parts were also missing in 2019. In order to be able to use Pumas, the troop slaughters other Pumas to obtain spare parts.

See also


Web links

Commons : Puma infantry fighting vehicle  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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