1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Technical problems plague Germany's Puma armored vehicles

December 18, 2022

The German-built infantry fighting vehicles were reportedly plagued by defects during a recent training exercise. The incidents have jeopardized the vehicle's use in NATO's spearhead force next year.

A German soldier standing in front of a Puma infantry fighting vehicle
The operational readiness of one fleet of Puma vehicles has reportedly dropped to zeroImage: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa

Germany's armed forces, the Bundeswehr, has been experiencing serious technical problems with its Puma infantry fighting vehicles, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine on Saturday.

After a training exercise involving 18 state-of-the-art Puma infantry fighting vehicles, not a single one was left operational, the report said.

The situation has caused a stir in the Defense Ministry because the vehicles are supposed to participate in NATO's spearhead Very High Readiness Joint Task Force next year.

The Pumas assigned to the task force will instead be replaced with the older but proven Marder infantry fighting vehicle "until further notice," Major General Ruprecht von Butler said in a letter to the ministry, according to Der Spiegel.

Problems building up

Germany has maintained a fleet of 350 Puma vehicles and secured financing for 229 additional units after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The vehicle has previously made headlines in the German press as the so-called "Pannenpanzer," or "breakdown tank."

Von Butler wrote in his letter to the Defense Ministry that although troops were aware of the Puma's reputation for unreliability, such technical problems had "never occurred with such frequency" as seen in the recent test.

The latest spate of incidents included one tank that suffered a cable fire in the driver's compartment, while at least two others had turret defects that emerged during the training exercise.

zc/sms (dpa, AFP)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.