Land vehicles

Puma: Meet Germany's IFV Which Connects Digitally To Troops

The German military has been demonstrating the Puma's capabilities, during a live firing exercise on a British range for the first time.

The German military has been demonstrating the Puma's capabilities, during a live firing exercise on a British range for the first time.

German personnel have been demonstrating their new smart infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) at Sennelager – the British Army's largest facility in continental Europe.

The Puma is one of the world's most advanced IFVs.

It can digitally connect with troops to share their view of the battlefield, and, using its stabilised 30-millimetre automatic cannon, fires 200 rounds per minute.

It is also able to hit targets 3km (1.8 miles) away, while being protected by advanced armour. 

The vehicle is designed to carry tank and helicopter-busting missile systems and there is room on board for up to nine people who can all see outside.

Cameras and thermal imaging mean 360-degree panoramic views are there for personnel, day or night.

It is the digital link-up with troops, however, which is arguably the biggest point of interest.

The German Army's Puma fleet will grow to 560 by the end of the decade.

The six-strong infantry teams the vehicle carries are all digitally linked and each soldier has access to the same information.

What troops on the ground see is instantly transmitted to the Puma, and vice versa.

The aim is that the technology to make locating and destroying hidden targets is much faster.

"We have a better gun, better optics, we have a better communication and also technology to communicate with our soldiers and also with other vehicles and the battalion, the company," Puma infantry team leader, Staff Sergeant Dominik Ostendorf said.

212 Panzergrenadier Battalion is based in Augustdorf and it is one of five German Army units equipped with the Puma.

"For me, personally, it makes me very proud to be a commander of a company that has the honour and the possibility to use this vehicle to have such modern technology," said Captain Christian Schlute.

"This vehicle in all aspects is way superior because we can go faster, we can fire for longer ranges with a higher capacity and way superior firepower, and also the protection for our soldiers in all aspects against mines, bombs and small arms fire is way higher."

Germany's IFV has had some teething problems, with the original turret, communications and armour receiving modifications.

However, the Puma did successfuly complete a tactical evaluation last month, as well as passing tests in Arctic and desert conditions.

The German Army's fleet of 350 Pumas is expected to grow to 560 by the end of the 2020s.