The German Army declared its new Boxer infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to be ready for combat after years of work on rectifying the issues identified on the vehicles.
Projekt System & Management, a joint-venture between Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), handed over the first 20 Puma IFVs to the German defense ministry in June 2015.
After a series of trials and evolutions, a total of 350 Pumas were to replace the 50-year-old Marder IFV in March 2020. However, the Puma failed its final combat readiness test, and the Marders are meanwhile getting life-extension upgrades.
After the Puma failed its test in 2020, the military and contractors put in a lot of work into modifications and upgrades to the new IFV, which was able to pass the combat readiness test in February this year, the defense ministry said. The upgrades encompassed optics, weapon effectiveness and soldier protection.
It is worth noting that all of the 350 IFVs will require significant modifications to attain the necessary qualifications. The defense ministry said that 40 units have already completed the procedure while upgrades for the rest of the fleet are yet to be approved and funded.
Germany intends to deploy the 40 combat ready Pumas to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which the country will lead from 2023. The defense ministry has also indicated that possibly only 266 IFVs could brought to the combat-ready status. 266 is the number of vehicles necessary for the stand up of a division, which the army plans to do in 2027.
Air-transportable in A-400M aircraft, the Puma transports 6 soldier along with three crew. It carries a stabilized remote-operable turret with a 30mm automatic cannon. It also carries a turret-mounted Spike missile, which Germany refers to as the MELLS weapon system.