The exercises involving the Puma armored vehicle would have been “a total failure”
German Puma armored infantry fighting vehicles, which were to join NATO’s rapid reaction force, completely failed during training exercises, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, citing an internal Bundeswehr document .
The publication quoted a letter from Major General Ruprecht von Butler, commander of the 10th Armored Division, which said that the 18 vehicles that took part in the exercise had become unusable. He described their performance as “a total failure”.
Electronics were reportedly prone to problems, while one vehicle experienced a fire in the driver’s compartment.
Von Butler reportedly wrote that the last two operational Pumas eventually broke down “after an hour and a half, with turret defects.”
The flaws have “never occurred with such frequency”, the commanding general was quoted as saying. He added that the performance of the Puma “becomes a lottery, despite all the necessary preparations”, Which one is “particularly stressful for the troops.
According to Der Spiegel, the Puma was to be deployed next year as part of NATO’s rapid reaction force. However, von Butler was quoted as saying he would be out for three to four months. It would be replaced by older Marder infantry fighting vehicles “until further notice,” he reportedly wrote, adding that authorities would do anything to restore the Puma’s combat readiness.
Due to its many problems, the Puma armored vehicle was previously nicknamed “Pannenpanzer” or “recovery tank” by the German media.
The news follows several reports of arms and ammunition shortages in the Bundeswehr, as Berlin continues to send weapons to Ukraine for that country’s conflict with Russia.
Der Spiegel had previously reported that Germany did not have enough artillery and air defense systems to contribute to the multinational NATO battalion-sized unit stationed in Lithuania.
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