Dhe Puma is the most expensive infantry fighting vehicle in the world. He should also be the best. However, he still has to prove it years after the – belated – commissioning with the German Armed Forces. So far, the tracked vehicle has only lived up to its reputation as a breakdown vehicle. The recent bankruptcy is particularly embarrassing for everyone involved: the manufacturers, the Ministry of Defense, the federal government, for all of Germany.
Because the 18 tanks, none of which were operational after a shooting exercise, are part of a specially equipped contingent that should be part of NATO’s rapid reaction force from January 1st. Germany then takes over the leadership of this “spearhead”. The Bundeswehr would have liked to impress the allies and Putin with the Puma. But he has to be represented by the fifty-year-old Marder, who fortunately still drives and shoots.
The Bundeswehr – still a picture of misery
After this “serious setback”, Defense Minister Lambrecht ordered an analysis, which led to the “inconsistent damage pattern” for the tanks, which are not to be purchased any longer for the time being. Of course, the Puma bankruptcy is not an isolated event. It fits into the uniform image of misery that the Bundeswehr is still giving ten months after the Chancellor proclaimed the “turn of the era”.
Scholz said at the time: “We need planes that fly, ships that set sail and soldiers who are optimally equipped for their missions. That’s what it’s all about, and that’s achievable for a country of our size and importance in Europe.”
But a lot has to change in the selection and maintenance of the weapon systems. Highly complex tanks, aircraft and submarines are useless if they are so prone to failure that they fail during maneuvers. It has long been known that procurement needs reform at both core and limb. Difficult as it is, it cannot be postponed any longer. Because at some point even the martens will stop driving.
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