Neuer Schützenpanzer Puma

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The Puma is a German IFV designed to replace the aging Marder currently in service with the Bundeswehr. Production began July 6, 2009 as a joint venture between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme. The Puma started life as a follow-up project to the German mid-1990s `NGP’ project – Neue Gepanzerte Plattformen or New Armored Platform. The lessons learned were then incorporated into the new tactical concept named `Neuer Schützenpanzer’ or new IFV in 1998. The primary armament of the Puma is a is a Rheinmetall 30 mm MK 30- 2/ABM (Air Burst Munitions) dual ammunition feed auto-cannon, firing fin-stabilised APFSDS-T with high penetration capabilities, and Kinetic Energy-Timed Fuse (KETF) munitions, designed with air burst capability. The secondary armament is a coaxially mounted 5.56mm HM MG4 machine gun firing at 850 rounds per minute with an effective range of 1,000m. The gun housing can also host a 7.62mm MG3. To combat main battle tanks, helicopters and infrastructure targets such as bunkers, the German Puma vehicles will be equipped with a turret-mounted EuroSpike Spike LR missile launcher, which carries two missiles that can be launched as either `fire and forget or `fire and observe’. In addition to the usual smoke-grenade launchers with eight shots, there is a six-shot 76mm launcher at the back of the vehicle for close-in defence. The main back door can be opened halfway and this enables two of the passengers to scout and shoot from moderate protection.

The Puma was designed to accommodate additional armor, initially planning to offer three protection classes which are wholly or partly interchangeable and to also be air portable aboard the A400M. The Puma is protected by AMAP composite armour, the AMAP-B module is used for protection against kinetic energy threats, while AMAP-SC offers protection against shaped charges and German Pumas of will be equipped with a Multifunktionales- Selbstscutz-System which is capable of defeating ATGMs. The whole vehicle is protected against heavy blast mines from below while still retaining 450mm ground clearance. Almost all equipment within the cabin, including the seats, has no direct contact to the floor, which adds to crew safety. The exhaust is mixed with fresh air and vented at the rear left side, which together with a special IR-suppressing paint, aims at reducing the thermal signature of the IFV. Another crew safety measure is that the main fuel tanks are placed outside of the vehicle hull itself, mounted within the heavily armoured running gear carriers.

The Puma offers improvements in situational awareness with a fully stabilised 360° periscope with six different zoom stages and a direct glass optic link to either the commander or the gunner. Since this is an optical line it had to be placed in the turret center, this is one of the reasons why the main cannon is mounted off-center on the turret. The gunner’s optics, which can be completely protected with a slide hatch, are mounted coaxially to the main gun. The gunner has a thermal vision camera, a laser range finder and an optronic day sight and the driver also has an image intensifier and one display for optronic image feeds. The Puma has an additional five external cameras at its rear in swing-mounts for protection while not in use. Apart from the glass optic periscope view directly accessible only by the commander and gunner all optronic picture feeds can be displayed on every electronic display within the vehicle.

Forschungsmitarbeiter Mitch Williamson is a technical writer with an interest in military and naval affairs. He has published articles in Cross & Cockade International and Wartime magazines. He was research associate for the Bio-history Cross in the Sky, a book about Charles ‘Moth’ Eaton’s career, in collaboration with the flier’s son, Dr Charles S. Eaton. He also assisted in picture research for John Burton’s Fortnight of Infamy. Mitch is now publishing on the WWW various specialist websites combined with custom website design work. He enjoys working and supporting his local C3 Church. “Curate and Compile“
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