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Of the 18 Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) that broke down during VJTF training at the training ground in December 2022, 17 are operational again. Industry has been able to eliminate the defects on all but one of the IFVs, the Ministry of Defence wrote in a recent statement. Inspection of the vehicles by industry and Bundeswehr personnel at maintenance facilities in Pfreimd, Regen and Unterlüß revealed a nuanced picture of minor and medium problems, but also some more serious problems, the MoD said.

Further investigations are now necessary concerning high-value parts and fire damage. According to the MoD’s assessment, the Puma is basically a powerful IFV and has the ability to serve the troops effectively in combat. However, the Puma has to become a more robust and reliable platform to be suited for deployment. “At present, the system can only be operated in a closely interlocked system of troops, army maintenance logistics, project management and industry,” the ministry complained. In order to improve its in-service performance, the MoD will invite industry, the troops and the procurement authority BAAINBw to a top-level meeting in the near future.

As announced immediately after the breakdown of the 18 Puma vehicles last year, the MoD is sticking to its contingency plans to ensure the Bundeswehr contribution to NATO’s VJTF spearhead task force continues, with Marder infantry fighting vehicles to be deployed in place of the Pumas. Two armoured infantry companies with a total of 28 IFVs are part of the German task force. According to the MoD, 150 Pumas from the first batch are currently being upgraded to the improved “S1” design. In addition, the technical-logistical concept of the force is being further developed. “The effectiveness of these measures is a prerequisite for the triggering of further upgrade options or the commissioning of the second batch,” the MoD statement read.