Berlin, December 19 – After the breakdown of 18 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, Federal Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht doubts their future. The recent blackouts are a “serious setback”, the SPD politician said in Berlin on Monday. By the end of next week, she had instructed the ministry, the Bundeswehr and industry to carry out an analysis. “The Puma project is at a crucial stage, and I have made that very clear to everyone involved,” Lambrecht said. Nevertheless, NATO can continue to rely on the Bundeswehr to fulfill its obligations.
In the morning there was a high-level meeting between Lambrecht and Bundeswehr Inspector General Eberhard Zorn, Army Inspector Alfons Mais, Commander of the 10th Armored Division, Major General Ruprecht von Butler and Benedikt Zimmer, State Secretary for Armaments. Another meeting with industry representatives was to follow. Over the weekend, the “Spiegel” reported that von Butler had reported in a “confidential fire letter to the army inspector” last week that “after a practice firing of 18 vehicles of ultra-modern infantry combat ‘Puma’ not a single one is ready to act”. The Pumas were also intended for use by the Bundeswehr in NATO’s Quick Reaction Force on January 1, 2023.
According to a Ministry of Defense spokesman, the Bundeswehr currently has 350 Pumas, of which only 42 are usable by NATO. The 18 now faulty all belonged to NATO-adapted aircraft. They are now to be replaced by the old Marder-type infantry fighting vehicle. The spokesman pointed out that the Bundeswehr had made promises to NATO and that they would be kept with the marten. In a message on Twitter, the ministry pointed out in this context that so far there have been no deliveries of martens from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine or other countries as part of an exchange of rings.
“THIS PROVEN INTELLIGENT”
Lambrecht announced that there would be no more maneuvers with the infantry fighting vehicle until the Puma was stable. “Parliament’s criticism is entirely justified.” Troops must be able to rely “on the fact that the weapon systems are robust and stable even in combat”. However, NATO can “continue to count on the fulfillment of our duties within the VJTF”, explained Lambrecht, referring to the “Very High Readiness Joint Task Force” (VJTF). “We had already planned the Marder infantry fighting vehicle during the preparations and it turned out to be a good idea.”
Union defense expert Johann Wadephul explained on Twitter: “If none of a company’s 18 Pumas are working properly, that’s first and foremost the industry’s responsibility.” Lambrecht is now required to ensure the operational capability of the Bundeswehr. The chairwoman of the Bundestag’s Defense Committee, Marie-Agnès Strack-Zimmermann, called on Sunday for a quick solution to the problem. She expects managers to “very quickly clarify where the error is and how the problem can be resolved.”
Lambrecht wonders about the future of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle after the failure
Symbol Picture: Image by Ichigo121212 on Pixabay
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