Germany sought to reassure Nato that it might nonetheless be relied on to guide the alliance’s fast response job power even in any case 18 of its most superior armoured autos malfunctioned in a coaching train earlier this month.
Defence chiefs held a disaster assembly in Berlin on Monday to debate the huge issues which have emerged with the Puma, one of many world’s best-protected infantry preventing autos, with defence minister Christine Lambrecht describing the problems as a “bitter setback”.
The 18 Pumas that malfunctioned had been amongst 42 that had been presupposed to be deployed as a part of Nato’s “Very Excessive Readiness Joint Activity Drive” (VJTF), a fast response power which Germany will lead from subsequent yr.
“Nato can proceed to depend on us finishing up our responsibility with the VJTF,” Lambrecht stated.
Lambrecht added that the military wouldn’t order any extra Pumas, which had been developed by the arms firms Rheinmetall Landsysteme and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) however have lengthy been suffering from technical issues. The businesses didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The malfunctions might show extremely embarrassing for Olaf Scholz, the German chancellor, who has vowed to revive the fortunes of the armed forces and make up for years of underfunding with a large enhance in defence expenditure. Days after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine he introduced the creation of a €100bn funding fund for the Bundeswehr, the German military.
Final week the Bundestag gave the inexperienced gentle for €8bn of the €100bn to be spent on new F-35 US fighter jets to switch Germany’s ageing Tornados. Additionally they authorised spending on a technical improve of the Pumas.
On Monday, the defence ministry stated that in coaching on the military’s firing follow centre final week, the Pumas had suffered an “unexpectedly excessive” variety of breakdowns — although it pressured that the train’s tactical and weather conditions had been “difficult”.
“The latest malfunctions of the Puma IFV are a bitter setback,” Lambrecht stated, including that she had ordered an investigation into what went flawed with the car.
The minister stated the Bundeswehr wouldn’t order any extra Pumas till it’s “confirmed to be resilient”. “Our military should have the ability to depend on weapons techniques being sturdy and steady, in fight, too,” she stated.
“This not solely hurts the Bundeswehr’s status in Nato, but in addition the picture of the businesses . . . concerned,” stated Thomas Wiegold, a distinguished army blogger.
Officers insisted that Germany’s contribution to the VJTF subsequent yr wouldn’t be affected by the problems with the Puma. It stated the German fight items that might be deployed to the duty power had been skilled on an older IFV, the Marder, and these would now be used within the VJTF as an alternative of the Pumas.
Officers stated a joint investigation was at present underneath solution to analyse the Puma’s issues. This was being carried out by the military, the Federal Workplace for Equipping the Bundeswehr, the personal logistics firm liable for repairing army gear in addition to Rheinmetall and KMW.
The Puma has had a protracted and troubled historical past. Manufacturing began in 2010 however it was solely declared battle-ready final yr.
“Scrap steel for €6bn is embarrassing for Germany,” stated Dietmar Bartsch, parliamentary chief of the leftwing opposition Linke occasion. “The IFV Puma was from the beginning a nasty design that swallowed up billions in taxpayers’ cash.”
The technical points had been first revealed in a letter by Maj Gen Ruprecht von Butler, commander of the tenth Armoured Division, to the Inspector of the German Military, which was leaked to information journal Spiegel. He stated the Pumas’ electronics appeared notably vulnerable to malfunction.