Germany's Pumas set for enhancement
The German armed forces has placed a contract with PSM for expanded capabilities and additional equipment for the army's Puma infantry fighting vehicle. Rheinmetall, which will work on the contract, announced the contract on 13 July.
The expansion package will enhance the Puma’s combat performance with the addition of a new turret-independent secondary weapon system (TSWA), and new visualisation and display technology.
The TSWA is an unmanned weapon station mounted on the rear section of the vehicle and remotely controlled from the vehicle’s rear fighting compartment. The system will enable the vehicle to address threats at very close quarters without having to use the main armament, which is especially important in urban operations. The TSWA fires 40mm lethal and non-lethal (such as tear gas and flash-bang) ammunition with a maximum range of 400 metres.
The 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.
New visualisation enhancements will see the vehicle’s current black and white monitor and accompanying optics replaced by 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 tactical situation.
A new infrared searchlight mounted on the rear of the vehicle will enhance the driver’s night vision capability. The development order includes sample integration of the visualisation technology into three vehicles, with exercise of a subsequent series production option envisaged for 2020.
New training resources will also be supplied as part of the package for the operator of the Puma turret. Separate turret training systems, consisting of the serial turret and the upper section of the Puma’s hull will enable the commander and gunner to train with no need for the actual vehicle. It will also allow maintenance personnel to practise repair and assembly procedures.
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 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.
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