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Bundeswehr VJTF SPz Puma Reliability Problems

Schützenpanzer Puma VJTF23 IFV ~ note MELLS launcher on left turret side [© Carl Schulze]

SPM Joint Statement: Experts examine the VJTF SPz Puma infantry fighting vehicle ~ industry mobilises its forces for short-term repairs.

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KMW and Rheinmetall Joint Statement, Munich and Düsseldorf, 21 December 2022: [auto-translated] As of today, experts from KMW and Rheinmetall have recovered some of the Bundeswehr’s defective Puma infantry fighting vehicles, including at the Unterlüß site of Rheinmetall AG in the immediate vicinity of the Munster military training area.

The aim of the experts is first and foremost to create a qualified picture of the damage in order to initiate immediate repairs on this basis. The industry has already initiated further measures in close coordination with the BMVg. All efforts are now focused on repairing the vehicles over the next two to three weeks.

The analysis of the causes of the apparently very distinctive cases of damage and the extent of the damage was immediately initiated on the industrial side as soon as it became known. From the very beginning, the industry has worked closely with the Federal Ministry of Defence and the German Armed Forces in this process of analysis.

In coordination with the Ministry of Defence, the industrial partners proposed immediate measures and presented them in a package of measures. In the course of implementing the said package of measures, expert personnel from KMW and Rheinmetall were also sent to the Bundeswehr locations where other defective Puma vehicles are located.

Schützenpanzer Puma IFV ~ note no MELLS launcher on left turret side [© Carl Schulze]

The Puma system is at the heart of the connected digitised land forces of the Bundeswehr. The suitability of the system for war was confirmed in 2021 in the course of a complex technical test.

In order to reliably ensure the readiness of the VJTF forces over the entire period of the operation, the industry to accompany the Puma infantry fighting vehicle as part of the association should be continuously on site and consulted.

The industry wants to do everything in its power to ensure that the Puma remains the backbone of the German armoured infantry force. At the same time, the Puma is an integral and indispensable part of the Panzergrenadier system for the German army.

KMW and Rheinmetall see the successful cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Defence and the German Armed Forces in the development and certification of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle as a guarantee that the problems that have arisen will be solved.

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Puma VJTF23 IFV [© Rheinmetall: Marcus Jacobs]

Editor’s Background Notes: German mainstream media recently reported that all 18 upgraded Puma infantry vehicles assigned to the armoured infantry battalion scheduled to front the German-led NATO VJTF 23 or Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023 broke down during the course of a pre-deployment exercise. These Puma VJTF23 variants are an upgraded, digitised version [see Rheinmetall ~ Bundeswehr Puma IFV Upgrade] of the tracked IFV produced by the PSM joint venture consortium, introduced from 2009 (in service from 2015) to replace the Bundeswehr’s Schützenpanzer Marder. Further Puma production has been suspended by the German MoD until the issues are resolved. It is believed that a Marder-equipped battalion will step into the breach at the last minute to ensure the Bundeswehr is able to honour its commitment to be available to NATO for VJTF duties on 1st January 2023. German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht is quoted as saying: “Our troops have to be able to rely on weapon systems being robust and stable in combat. And NATO can continue to rely on us doing our duty at the VJTF. We included the Marder infantry fighting vehicle in the preparations and that has proven to be wise.”

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