VDefense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) pushed the retrofitting of 143 Puma infantry fighting vehicles through the Bundestag in mid-December, despite fundamental concerns from the Court of Auditors. According to the voting proposal on September 2, 2022, the Federal Court of Auditors recommended in a test report that “the contract negotiations be broken off, since neither the specifications of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag (HHA) have been implemented nor the system is technically mature enough to justify a follow-up procurement”. .
In mid-December, the defense and budget committees were informed that, despite the low operational readiness of the infantry fighting vehicles, the “technical maturity” of the Puma tanks was “deviatingly” rated “much more positively” by the Court of Auditors. One may release 850 million euros. However, a letter from the Ministry of Finance dated November 30 made it clear that the 143 Puma tanks would not be fully operational even for an additional 6 million euros per vehicle. The necessary conversions are “currently being evaluated in terms of content and finances”, it said.
18 out of 18 Puma tanks failed
The budget and defense committees followed Lambrecht’s proposal, but did not know at the time that 18 of 18 Puma tanks had failed during an exercise at the Bergen/Munster military training area days earlier. The corresponding damage report from a general also referred to ongoing disruption and repair problems. The deputies found out about it belatedly through a report in the magazine “Spiegel”.
After Lambrecht had threatened the military technology industry with breaking off the cooperation, the latter replied that the damage could be repaired quickly, and in some cases grenadiers had not found the right switch when using it. Lambrecht, who now insists on keeping figures on operational readiness secret, said before the Bundestag on April 27: “On paper, for example, we have 350 Puma infantry fighting vehicles. Of these, 150 are actually operational because there are not the appropriate facilities, for example to repair them if necessary.” Another report is expected this week.