There will be a slight delay in the delivery of the upgraded Puma IFVs to the German army due to software modifications, as reported by Voice of Europe. It’s anticipated that the state-of-the-art Pumas will begin arriving at the end of February 2024.
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The robust S1 upgrade encompasses the integration of superior, high-resolution day and night vision camera systems, the MELLS light missile system [known as Rafael Spike LR in Israel], cutting-edge digital radio equipment, and the sophisticated IdZ-ES future soldier system.
At present, the German army boasts modern vehicles up to the C1 standard, with 40 units specifically upgraded for NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force [VJTF] several years ago.
The decision was later made in Berlin to upgrade the entirety of their Puma IFV inventory. The Bundeswehr initially planned to revamp 154 vehicles. However, this figure was amplified in 2021 with an additional 143 units, leading to a complete modernization of the existing Puma IFV land vehicle fleet.
Puma IFV’s design
Even though the Puma closely resembles other existing Infantry Fighting Vehicles [IFVs], it stands out because of the high-tech advancements it encompasses. Perhaps the most groundbreaking technology within the Puma is its ability to adjust and accommodate different armor, making it a flexible challenger in its category.
One unique feature that the Puma supports is its compact, unified crew cabin, promoting optimal crew interaction. This unique design arrangement supports the swift substitution of the driver or gunner during emergency situations, all within a well-protected and minimal space.
To ensure the crew’s safety and comfort, the cabin is fitted with an air-conditioning system, as well as nuclear and chemical sensors for detecting airborne threats. Moreover, it encapsulates a fire suppression system that utilizes non-toxic agents, with the engine compartment retaining its own discrete fire extinguishing system. The only negligible variance from the nearly cubical cabin design is the driver’s station, which is situated at the forefront, ahead of the gunner and turret.
The Puma’s outer hull, excluding the turret, is sleek and low, designed to minimize its visual signature and reduce shot traps. Remarkably, the entire vehicle, when fully armed and ready for combat, is capable of being air-transported within the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter.
Bringing forth its competitive edge, the Puma’s crew capacity that accommodates 3+6 persons is comparable to other similar-weight vehicles such as the US M2 Bradley IFV, the Marder, and the CV9040. Nonetheless, it slightly lags behind vehicles like the CV9030 and CV9035 that can carry 3+8 persons.
Puma IFV’s armament
When it comes to the Puma IFV’s main weaponry, we’re talking about the Rheinmetall MK30-2/ABM autocannon – a 30mm, fully-stabilized artillery unit. Because of this, the vehicle has quite a punch when engaging with both armored and squishy targets.
But let’s not forget the Puma IFV’s side weapon, a coaxial machine gun. Generally, we find this machine gun to be either a 5.56mm or 7.62mm caliber model, fitted adjacent to the principal cannon. Its primary purpose? You guessed it, tackling infantry and light targets comes as a breeze with this support weapon.
The Puma IFV doesn’t stop there – for layers of protection, it’s equipped with a missile launching system. This system can deploy different styles of anti-tank guided missiles [ATGMs], such as the Spike-LR or the MELLS. With these missiles in its inventory, the Puma IFV can effortlessly engage and take down armored vehicles, even at extended distances.
But wait, there’s more. The Puma IFV also houses a remote weapon station [RWS] that is perched on the vehicle’s roof. This station is typically fitted with a machine gun, for instance, a 7.62mm or 12.7mm caliber weapon. By enabling the crew to attack targets from a safe, shielded space, this feature further boosts the vehicle’s defensive portfolio.
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