Puma Gets Go Ahead for Low Rate Initial Production

Released on Thursday, December 2, 2004
Marder 1
KMW - Krauss-Maffei Wegmann
LRIP - Low Rate Initial Production
Rheinmetall has announced that the Budget committee of the German Bundestag has given the green light for the future Puma infantry fighting vehicle. Deemed as the most important project of the German land systems industry in this decade.

The Bundestag, German Congress/Parliament, has approved the award of a €350 million ($430+ million) procurement contract for the low rate initial production (LRIP) phase. Projekt System und Management (PSM) GmbH of Kassel, a 50/50 joint venture between Rheinmetall Landsysteme of Kiel and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) of Munich, will be responsible for development, production and associated services throughout the life of the program.

The German Army, Bundeswehr, wants to procure 410 vehicles to replace aging Marder infantry fighting vehicles. In total, the Puma program is valued approximately at €3.05 billion ($3.8+ billion). The agreement achieved between PSM and the German government contains an option for launching full rate production valid until 2007. The first prototype is planned to roll-out in the late 2005.

In addition, the German Bundestag has approved outfitting some 1,500 vehicles of the German Army with a state-of-the-art command and information management system suitable for new role of German forces in international crisis management. This upgrade worth $380 million ($476+ million) will be conducted jointly by Rheinmetall and KMW. Moreover, Rheinmetall will supply with 75 Bv206S armored command and transport vehicles worth $58 million to the German Army's mountain elite troops.

The German land systems industry feels that Puma express their technological superiority through an infantry fighting vehicle offering crew protection and platform survivability unrivalled anywhere in the world. The development of Puma started in 2002, the first prototype is expected in 2005 and an initial operational capability is anticipated in 2007. Puma can be airlifted in the new A400M tactical transport aircraft and features modular design that ultimately could provide outstanding battlefield effectiveness.

Crew protection against rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and mines will remain without equals for long time, according to Rheinmetall. The new 800 KW engine, brand-new turret and the use of programmable ammunition among other advanced characteristics will set Puma as a new category of combat vehicles.


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