Rheinmetall-KMW was awarded a contract by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) to supply expanded capabilities and additional equipment for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).
“The Koblenz-based Federal Office for Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has awarded the Rheinmetall-Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) consortium’s Projekt System & Management (PSM) an order for a comprehensive expansion package with a gross value of €260 million. In addition to this, €108 million has been allocated for optional retrofitting with further components. Rheinmetall’s share in the current order comes to €115 million.” Rheinmetall said in a statement.
The contracted upgrades will improve the protection, effectiveness, and performance of the Puma, as well as training. The contracts cover the development of a new turret-independent secondary weapon system (TSWA) for the Puma; installation of advanced visualisation and display technology in three vehicles; training and logistics for the Multifunktionale Selbstschutzsystem (MUSS) self-protection system; and 11 turret trainers, in addition to upgrading the existing one.
TSWA is an unmanned weapon station mounted on the rear section of the vehicle rather than on the rotatable turret and can be remotely controlled from the vehicle’s rear fighting compartment. This means that threats can be addressed even at very close quarters without having to use the main armament, which is especially important in urban terrain, significantly enhancing crew protection.
The TSWA fires 40mm lethal and non-lethal (e.g. tear gas and flash-bang) ammunition with a maximum range of 400 metres.
Altogether, it will significantly strengthen the vehicle’s battlefield performance and especially its self-defence capabilities.
The new order includes sample integration, readying the system for full-scale production and fabrication of three TSWA prototypes. The actual serial production order, in which the entire Puma fleet will be retrofitted with the weapon system, is expected to come in 2023.
The current black and white monitor and accompanying optics will be replaced by a state-of-the-art, high-performance colour displays. This will provide the vehicle commander and gunner with a high-resolution, highly detailed view of the surrounding terrain and the current tactical situation. A new infrared searchlight mounted on the rear of the vehicle will enhance the driver’s night vision capability.
Training & Logistics:
Another order encompasses additional training resources for the operator of the Puma turret, one of the IFV’s most technically sophisticated subsystems. Separate turret training systems, consisting of the serial turret and the upper section of the Puma’s hull, will in future enable the commander and gunner to train with no need for the actual vehicle.
Maintenance personnel can practise repair and assembly procedures in a highly effective, highly realistic manner. This relieves the pressure on scarce resources as well as cutting costs, as it avoids tying up the vehicle hardware and results in less wear and tear. This way training can be conducted in a much more flexible way.
Delivery of the turret trainers is to take place during the 2019-2023 timeframe. The order includes eleven new turret trainers as well as the upgrade of an existing system, which will in future give the Bundeswehr a total of twelve systems, or two per battalion. Specifically, they will be deployed at all German mechanized infantry bases as well as at the Bundeswehr training centres in Aachen and Munster.
The IFV can accommodate nine troops and can be airlifted in an A400M military transport plane.
The Puma is currently being introduced into the German Army. Delivery of all 350 vehicles, which began in June 2015, is scheduled for completion in 2020. The first units are now undergoing training in the use and operation of the Puma system.
Source: Rheinmetall Defence