The Bundeswehr and industry will jointly increase the readiness of the Puma infantry fighting vehicles for the troops. Both sides have recently signed a target agreement.
High mobility, comprehensive protection and precise firepower: The Puma is the new "mother ship" of the armored infantry and replaces the Marder armored personnel carrier. The Puma has been built and delivered since 2010, and the delivery of the last of a total of 350 vehicles to the troops is expected this year.
Operational readiness increased to 50 percent
Even in the fifth year of use, the operational readiness of the armored infantry’s main weapon system is inadequate, and is currently only around 30 percent. The biggest challenge is the timing of ordering spare parts. The reasons for this are multifaceted and complex, but one of the main factors is surely the current lack of spare parts.
Countermeasures taken in the past may have initial effects, but are not sufficient to provide a satisfactory result.
Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Defense and the German Armed Forces, as well as Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), have therefore jointly agreed on concrete steps to increase operational readiness to 50 percent on average in the second half of 2020.
This means that of the 200 vehicles available in the army, 100 Puma should be ready for use in the middle of the second half of the year.
Bundeswehr and industry: eye-to-eye partnership
State Secretary for Armaments Benedikt Zimmer has been successfully concluding target agreements with his program managers relevant to projects in Category A, using the same methodology.
Concluding an agreement with the contractor is now a novelty: for the first time, important concrete goals and measures on both sides were fixed in a target agreement, in addition to concluded contracts.
With the agreement, the respective company managements, but also the Ministry of Defense and the army, enter into a close commitment and personally tie themselves to the agreed requirements.
The procedure up to the conclusion of the agreement also played an important role here. An intensive dialogue was held in a series of workshops, which created transparency about goals and tasks and clearly identified priorities. This led to a common situation picture and understanding of the challenges, and an intensive exchange also developed in the relationship between the contracting authority and the recipient.
All those involved in this process share the conviction that the path taken with this format should be continued beyond 2020.
Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the target agreement could only be signed by post. On behalf of the Ministry and the German Armed Forces, the Head of the Equipment Department in the Ministry of Defense and the commander “German Shares Multinational Corps / Basic Military Organization” signed the agreement in the Heer Command. On the industrial side, the document was signed by the CEO of Rheinmetall and the CEO of KMW.
All those involved emphasize that this ambitious plan can only be managed with a joint, partner-like effort that goes beyond the classic target constellation, and everyone will have to contribute to the desired outcome.