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After the failure of several Puma infantry fighting vehicles during an exercise last year caused a public outcry and the vehicle was subsequently deregistered from the NATO spearhead or VJTF, the situation seems to be easing at the moment.

It can be assumed that the first company equipped with the Puma "VJTF" infantry fighting vehicle will soon be technically ready for use again, writes the Ministry of Defense in a current statement. Once all the necessary requirements have been met, she will then be reintegrated into the VJTF force system.

The Federal Ministry of Defense derives these statements from the report that it is sending to Parliament today on the results of the analysis of the failures of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle in December 2022.

"The provision of the second company equipped with IFV PUMA "VJTF" will take some time," the ministry continues. In order to replace the Puma at the VJTF, the then Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht had ordered the use of the aging Marder infantry fighting vehicle.

The background to the measure and the report is exercise round 12/22 in the firing range of the armored forces in Munster, which took place from November 30 to December 16 last year and in which 18 Puma infantry fighting vehicles took part. In the course of the exercise, all 18 vehicles were reported as no longer operational by the end of the exercise. "After seven previously completed exercises with SPz Puma in the combat training center and in the firing practice center, with comparable intensity and exercise content with significantly less damage, these failures were not to be expected," writes the BMVg. The manufacturers of the combat vehicle in particular were then suspected of being largely responsible for the failure.

The German army, the procurement office in Koblenz, the Heeresinstandsetzungslogistik GmbH, the industrial partners and the BMVg repaired the vast majority of the failed systems in a show of strength between the failures of the vehicles in December and the present report, analyzed the causes, worked out recommendations for action and more According to today's press release, the procedure was agreed during a top-level discussion on January 13. “As a result, all parties are asked to eliminate the deficits that have arisen. This applies to the official side/the troops as well as to the industry.”

All those involved are still convinced of the performance of the Puma. However, there is agreement that further efforts must be made by each stakeholder before the overall system has reached the required technical and logistical robustness.

Further investigation planned

According to the ministry, a tactical and a technical-logistical investigation will be carried out with the arrival of the first Puma infantry fighting vehicle in the further developed "S1" armament stand in April 2023. This preparedness addresses many of the known damage patterns that have occurred at a technical level, and the effectiveness of the measures will be proven within the scope of the investigations, according to the BMVg

At the same time, the necessary organizational and logistical improvements would be implemented and reflected in the military command process. “The training for maintenance personnel at all levels is being intensified in cooperation with industry. The technical-logistical support concept is being revised, and the exchange of knowledge and experience between the maintenance levels is being intensified. The hourly rates for the technical service will be increased and the availability of spare and replacement parts improved, the same applies to the corresponding industrial capacities," writes the ministry. Corresponding agreements and necessary commitments from the industrial partners are currently being coordinated.

With the measures, the Bundeswehr seems to want to remedy its own weaknesses in dealing with the Puma. According to press reports, defense politicians in the Bundestag were informed last week that the failure of the armored personnel carriers was largely due to deficiencies in maintenance and repairs by the troops.

Editor / lah