The Puma is a German infantry fighting vehicle (Schützenpanzer or short SPz) designed to replace the aging Marder IFVs currently in service with the Bundeswehr. Replacement began in 2010 and is scheduled for completion by 2020. Mass production began on 6 July 2009. The company responsible for the project is PSM Projekt System Management, a joint venture of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Landsysteme. The Puma is one of the best-protected IFVs, while still having a high power-to-weight ratio. SAIC offered a derivative of the Puma as its contender in the American GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle program.
The Puma, while externally not very different from existing IFVs, incorporates a number of advances and state-of-the-art technologies. The most obvious of these is the incorporated ability to flexibly mount different armour. Another feature is the compact, one-piece crew cabin that enables direct crew interaction (“face-to-face”; like replacing the driver or gunner in case of a medical emergency) and minimizes the protected volume. The cabin is air conditioned, NBC-proof with internal nuclear and chemical sensors and has a fire suppressing system using non-toxic agents. The engine compartment has its own fire extinguishing system. The only compromise of the otherwise nearly cuboid cabin is the driver station, located in a protrusion in front of the gunner, in front of the turret.
One measure to achieve the one-piece cabin is the use of an unmanned, double-asymmetrical turret : while slightly off-center turrets are common in IFVs, the Puma’s turret is on the left-hand side of the vehicle, while the main cannon is mounted on the right side of the turret and thus on the middle axis of the hull when the turret is in the forward position.
The outer hull (minus the turret) is very smooth and low to minimize bullet traps and the general visual signature. The whole combat-ready vehicle in its base configuration will be air transportable in the Airbus A400M tactical airlifter. Its 3+6 persons crew capability is comparable to other vehicles of comparable weight, like the US American M2 Bradley IFV, the same as in the Marder, but smaller than the 3+8 of the CV9030 and CV9035.