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New Armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle PUMA Presented

A German army band plays in front off the Reichstag building during celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the German army (Bundeswehr) in Berlin 26 October 2005. Michael Kappeler, DDP and AFP.
by Staff Writers
Munster, Germany (SPX) May 08, 2006
PUMA the focus of the German Army's 50th anniversary Munster. The public got its first look at the German Army's new PUMA infantry fighting vehicle during the Army's fifty-year anniversary celebrations in Munster.

In the presence of several hundred guests including politicians, the military, industry, and the media, the initial prototype gave a strong impression of its importance for current and future military missions.

PUMA successfully meets military requirements for a vehicle with high strategic and tactical mobility while still offering its crew the highest possible protection and outstanding firepower. This vehicle gives soldiers the ability to react immediately to new challenges while exhibiting flexibility and the appropriate level of intensity.

During the anniversary celebrations, Co-Managing Directors of PSM GmbH (responsible for producing and developing PUMA) Dr. Peter Hellmeister and Rainer Huth stressed the following: "PUMA is a joint effort between our country's land systems industry and the Army that fully expresses Germany's technological leadership in ground fighting vehicles. In international comparisons, PUMA offers a previously unavailable level of performance, especially with regards to the safety of soldiers in the vehicle."

The German Army is expected to order 410 vehicles with a total value of approximately 3 billion euros. The political decision about series production of this armored infantry fighting vehicle is expected in 2007. An order was already placed at the end of 2004 for delivery of five pre-production vehicles as well as logistics and training services.

PUMA is based on a completely new vehicle design that reflects the armed forces' new mission profile. New types of missions aimed at peacekeeping and peacemaking require a highly mobile weapons system that is ready for international deployment yet still provides the highest possible protection. PUMA gives its crew a level of protection against threats like mines and anti-tank weapons (widespread in the world's crisis regions) that was previously unavailable in a comparable vehicle.

PUMA offers two different levels of armor. The Level-A version is suitable for transport in the upcoming A400M transport plane. Despite its high armor protection it is rapidly deployable to a variety of locations. "At 31.45 metric tons total weight, the Level-A PUMA will fully meet the customer's specifications for transport in the A400M," according to Rainer Huth and Dr. Peter Hellmeister.

At Level-C, rapid on-site adaptation with modular elements gives the vehicle the best protection against mines, hollow charges, and medium-caliber weapons that is currently available. Roof elements are also adaptable to shield the crew against bomblets. The redeveloped powerful 800-kW high-power-density motor, decoupled running gear, an unmanned turret, and programmable munitions are additional ways that the PUMA sets new global standards for armored vehicles. More than thirty years after the German Army commissioned the original Marder infantry fighting vehicle, the new PUMA is serving as the founding member of a new category of high-performance vehicles.

PSM GmbH of Kassel, Germany is the prime contractor handling development and production of PUMA. PSM is a 50/50 joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme, two of Europe's leading systems providers for armored wheel and track vehicles.

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