Germany pauses purchases of Puma tanks after operational problems

Puma tank failure is 'heavy setback' for Germany - defence ministry
Puma tank failure is 'heavy setback' for Germany - defence ministry Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
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By Rachel More

BERLIN -Germany will not purchase any more Puma infantry tanks until they have proven themselves to be reliable, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Monday after several of the vehicles were put out of service during a recent military drill.

"The recent failures of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle are a major setback," Lambrecht said in a statement, adding that she had requested a report on the matter by the end of next week.

Shares in Rheinmetall, which manufactures the tanks together with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), were down 7% after the minister's announcement.

"Our troops must be able to rely on weapon systems being robust and stable even in combat," Lambrecht said, while assuring NATO allies that they could continue to rely on Berlin to fulfill its readiness obligations as part of a joint task force (VJTF) from 2023.

A statement from the German defence ministry said the goal was to make the Puma tanks operational as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the German Bundeswehr military would use Marder tanks, the predecessor model to the Puma, from Jan. 1, in what a ministry spokesperson called a "fall-back solution".

Neither Rheinmetall nor KMW would comment on the issues with the Puma model.

The Spiegel magazine reported over the weekend that 18 Puma tanks intended for NATO's very high readiness joint task force next year were not operational after problems arose during a firing exercise.

Germany has vowed to boost defence spending and modernise its military in the wake of the Ukraine war, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government making 100 billion euros ($106.10 billion) available for defence investments in this year's budget.

($1 = 0.9425 euros)

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