The German army has announced its plans to buy 50 more Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IVFs) from Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for a total of 1.5 billion euros. This is a significant investment in the modernization of the German military, which has faced criticism for its outdated equipment and low readiness.
The Puma is a state-of-the-art armoured vehicle that can carry up to nine soldiers and is equipped with a 30 mm cannon, a machine gun, and anti-tank missiles. It also has advanced features such as a modular armour system, a digital network, and an active protection system that can detect and counter incoming threats.
The Puma is designed to replace the old Marder vehicles that have been in service since the 1970s. The German army already has 350 Pumas in its inventory, but it needs more to meet its operational requirements and NATO commitments. The new order will bring the total number of Pumas to 400 by 2026.
The decision to buy more Pumas comes after the German government resolved some technical issues that had plagued the vehicle in the past. Last year, former Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht complained about the reliability of the Puma and said that there would be no second batch until it proved to be stable. However, Rheinmetall and KMW have since addressed the problems and improved the performance of the vehicle.
The Puma is seen as a key element of the German army’s future combat system, which aims to integrate different platforms and sensors into a networked battlefield. The Puma will also work together with other armoured vehicles such as the Leopard 2 main battle tank and the Boxer armoured personnel carrier.
The purchase of more Pumas is part of Germany’s efforts to boost its defence spending and capabilities after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2023. Germany has also sent weapons and trainers to Ukraine and increased its participation in NATO exercises and missions. Germany’s defence budget for 2023 is set at 53.4 billion euros, which is 1.66% of its GDP.