The German military has had its eyes on a new infantry fighting vehicle for some time.
The vehicle, called the Puma, is supposed to replace the aging Marder infantry fighting vehicle.
But federal auditors say development issues could add years to the Puma’s arrival date.
The German military is in the process of adding the new Puma infantry fighting vehicle to its fleet to replace the aging Marder, which has been in service since 1971, but federal auditors say the program could soon by hit by yearslong delays.
The Puma and the Marder both have a crew of three, but the Puma carries just six troops to the Marder’s seven. But the Puma packs more firepower, including a 30 mm cannon, an upgrade from the Marder’s 20 mm cannon, as well as a 5.56 mm coaxial machine gun and an anti-tank guided-missile system.
The Puma also incorporates composite armors that can better withstand modern weapons, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and explosively formed projectiles, and are lighter than older kinds of armor.
Overall, the Puma is about six tons heavier than the Marder, but the Puma has modular armor that can be removed to lighten it for air transport or added to increase its protection. The Puma can cover 373 miles on a single tank of gas and hit a top speed of 43 mph.
The first preproduction models of the Puma were delivered in 2004, and it was approved for service with the German army in April 2015.
The German firm Rheinmetall, which is developing the Puma with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, announced the delivery of the 200th vehicle this week, and the Bundeswehr wants to have 320 Pumas by 2020 to serve alongside its Leopard tanks.
But officials from Germany’s Bundesrechnungshof, which is like the US Government Accountability Office, have said the Puma program’s uneven progress and low availability rates mean German troops should be ready to use the Marder for years beyond the planned end-of-service date in 2025, according to Defense News.
Auditors acknowledged that the Puma program was only in the initial-delivery phase and was still dealing with growing pains. But they noted deployment-readiness rates of 48% in 2016 and 43% in 2017 and cited reports from the army that the Pumas did not have “system stability” and often experienced malfunctions during training.
Auditors said …read more
Source:: Business Insider