The Puma is a German infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (Schützenpanzer or short SPz) designed to replace the aging Marder IFVs currently in service with the German Army. Production of the first batch of 350 vehicles began in 2010 and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2024. A second batch of 210 Pumas has received funding. Mass production began on 6 July 2009. The companies responsible for this project are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme, under the umbrella of Projekt System Management GmbH (PSM) GmbH based in Kassel. The Puma is one of the world’s best-protected IFVs, while still having a high power-to-weight ratio. The PUMA provides its crew with highly effective modular protection from mines, antitank weapon fire and improvised explosive devices of a level unsurpassed by any comparable vehicle..
The primary armament is a Rheinmetall 30 mm MK 30-2/ABM (Air Burst Munitions) autocannon, which has a rate of fire of 200 rounds per minute and an effective range of 3,000 m. There are currently two ammunition types directly available via the autocannon’s dual ammunition feed. One is a sub-calibre, fin-stabilised APFSDS-T (T for tracer), with high penetration capabilities, mainly for use against medium armoured vehicles. The second is a full-calibre, multi-purpose, Kinetic Energy-Timed Fuse (KETF) munition, designed with the air burst capability (depending on the fuse setting) for ejecting a cone of sub-munitions. The secondary armament, a coaxially mounted 5.56 mm HK MG4 machine gun firing at 850 rounds per minute and with an effective range of 1,000 m. The gun housing can also host the 7.62 mm MG3. In next years, the MG4 will be replaced by MG5
There are also mounts for the inclusion of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM)s on the right side of the turret. 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. The Spike LR missile has an effective range up to 4,000 m and can be launched in either the “Fire and Forget” or “Fire and Observe” mode. In addition to the usual smoke-grenade launchers with 8 shots, there is a 6-shot 76 mm launcher at the back of the vehicle for close-in defence. The main back door can be opened halfway and 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. The Pumas of the German Army will be equipped with a soft-kill system called Multifunktionales Selbstschutz-System (multifunction self protection system), MUSS, which is capable of defeating ATGMs. 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. A group of four A400M aircraft could fly three 31.5 metric tons Pumas into a theatre, with the fourth airplane transporting the armor kits and simple lifting equipment. The Pumas could be built-up to addon armor within a short time.