Rheinmetall, KMW to upgrade German Army's Puma infantry fighting vehicles

More than 150 vehicles will be provided with enhanced design status under the initial phase of the contract valued at over 1 billion euros

Rheinmetall, KMW to upgrade German Army's Puma infantry fighting vehicles

A German Army Puma vehicle. Photo: Bundeswehr/Daniel Dinnebier

German company Rheinmetall announced last week that it won a major order of armored vehicles from the German Army, representing sales of well over half a billion euros. The contract for the upgrade of the first group of the Army's Puma infantry fighting vehicle is to be carried out by the joint venture company PSM, co-owned by Rheinmetall and German defense company KMW.

Under the contract from Germany's defense procurement agency, the first phase will include the upgrading of 154 Puma vehicles, with work expected to begin in July and be completed in 2029. According to Rheinmetall, the initial phase of the deal is worth 1.04 billion euros, with Rheinmetall’s share worth 501 million euros. The company expects to receive additional work under the contract, such as in the electro-optical field, worth hundreds of millions of euros.

The contract also contains an option for modernization of 143 more Puma vehicles, which for the PSM consortium would mean additional sales of 820 million euros, with well over half that amount allotted to Rheinmetall, the company said.

The major upgrade is intended to provide the majority of the German Army's existing fleet of 350 Puma vehicles with S1 enhanced design status before Germany takes command of the NATO Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF). Forty Puma IFVs have already been upgraded to S1 status. 

Among others, the new S1 version of the Puma is characterized by standoff-capable effectors like the MELLS multirole lightweight guided missile system, the German version of Rafael's Spike missile; additional sensors such as a new driver vision system; and an improved command-and-control architecture. Also, the parabolic and driver vision system heralds the end of the periscope era. For the first time, the entire crew will be able to "see through" the armor, day and night. The fusion mode combines daylight vision with a high-quality thermal image, enabling early detection of camouflage targets around the clock. The S1 version of the Puma is the first western combat vehicle that includes this type of system as a standard feature, according to Rheinmetall. 

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