Next year, the German army will receive the first 30 of its new Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). Some 1,100 Pumas will eventually replace the 2,000 Cold War era (1970s) Marder vehicles.
Puma contains lots of innovations. The basic model has a remote (from inside the vehicle) control turret equipped with a new 30mm automatic cannon. This type of system has worked well in Iraq. The Puma armor protection comes in three levels. The basic level results in a 29.4 ton vehicle that protects against artillery, heavy machine guns (up to 14.5mm) and RPG rounds. There’s a 31.5 ton and 43 ton version. The Germans have settled on the 31.5 ton version as the standard.
This one gives all round protection from 14.5mm machine-guns, and some protection from 30mm rounds. The 30mm cannon can fire computer controlled shells, that will detonate inside of buildings or over troops taking cover behind a wall or in a trench. The 30mm cannon can fire up to 700 rounds a minute, and has a range of 3,000 meters. The gun also has an armor piercing round that is also effective against personnel (FAPIDS-T, or Frangible Armour Piercing Incendiary Discarding Sabot - Tracer).
The Puma has a crew of three (commander, gunner and driver) and carries up to eight infantrymen (or cargo) in the rear troop compartment. The Puma will also be “digital.” Noting the success the U.S. Army has had with equipping their armored vehicles with “battlefield Internet” communications equipment, the Germans will do the same with Puma. Production of Puma will continue through the end of the decade.
1145Z FRI 31DEC04. Strategy Page.