The German Bundeswehr has signed a framework agreement with Rheinmetall to supply over 600,000 rounds of medium-calibre ammunition for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle (IFV). In total, ammunition is to be procured for around EUR 576 million. The budget committee of the German Parliament approved the bill for this comprehensive procurement on 30 November 2022. A first call-off of around 25,000 rounds of DM21 30mm x 173 cal. ammunition is expected to come before the end of 2022. This automatic cannon ammunition order for the Puma will ensure an adequate operational supply for the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force, the VJTF. Moreover, the cartridges are required for German Army mechanized infantry training and exercises.
The Puma is equipped with a Rheinmetall MK30-2/ABM automatic cannon (ABM stands for airburst munition). Combining a high rate of fire with state-of-the-art ammunition technology, the MK30-2/ABM is an extremely reliably weapon system. With a maximum operating radius of more than 2,000 metres, the MK30-2/ABM is highly effective against targets on land, at sea and in the air. There are currently two ammunition types directly available via the autocannon’s dual ammunition feed. Keeping the weight within the 35-ton limit also led to a smaller calibre for 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 ammunition capacity is 2,000 rounds; 1,000 ready to fire and 1,000 in storage.
Rheinmetall is a key supplier of service ammunition to the Bundeswehr. The company produces two main types of 30mm x 173 cal. service ammunition for the Puma: the KE-TF DM21 and KE DM33. Extremely reliable programming of the KE-TF, which stands for Kinetic Energy Time Fuse, lets the Puma engage large infantry-type area targets. The smaller 30x173mm cartridge offers major weight saving advantages for example in comparison to the Bofors 40 mm gun mounted on the CV9040 because of a much lower ammunition size and weight. The belt feed system also gives a large number of rounds ready to fire, while the 40mm offers only 24 shots per magazine. This is not a problem in a CV9040, but would force the Puma off the battlefield to reload the unmanned turret.
The Puma is a German infantry fighting vehicle (IFV, Schutzenpanzer) 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 was completed in August 2021. A second batch of 229 Pumas has received funding. Mass production began on 6 July 2009.The companies responsible for this project are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme, who created a joint venture in the form of Projekt System Management GmbH (PSM). The Puma is one of the world’s best-protected IFVs, while still having a high power-to-weight ratio. In March 2022 a second batch comprising 229 Pumas of the latest standard was announced to be ordered by the German military.