Home Europe Germany halts Puma IFV purchases after live-fire fiasco

Germany halts Puma IFV purchases after live-fire fiasco

Puma IFV recent problems
German Army file photo of a Puma IFV

Germany will not be awarding a contract for another tranche of Puma infantry fighting vehicles until the issues discovered during a recent trial have been rectified.

German defense minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement that the recent failures of the IFV “are a serious setback.”

Lambrecht was referring to a test event that saw 18 of the Puma IFVs, which were among the 42 vehicles set to deploy for NATO’s very high readiness joint task force (VJTF) in 2023, break down.

According to a report from the Spiegel, the latest series of problems was worrying even for the failure-prone Puma. The incidents revealed in the report included an instance of cable fire in the driver’s compartment, while turret defects were identified on other IFVs.

“I have commissioned an analysis by participating agencies of the defense ministry and the industry,” Lambrecht added. The report on the matter is due next week.

“Until the vehicle proves to be stable, there will be no second lot.”

Until the Puma IFV returns to service, the older Marder vehicles will be used as a fall back solution. The defense minister assured allies that they can count on Germany supplying capability for the upcoming VJTF deployment.

The latest setback comes after the German Army declared Puma IFV to be ready for combat in March 2021, 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.