After an embarrassing incident in which all 18 of Germany’s Puma tanks failed a drill and were declared unfit for action in the NATO Rapid Reaction Force (NRF), German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said that the country will not be purchasing any more of the tanks until their reliability can be proven.
The failure of the Puma tanks is just one of several recent troubles plaguing the German military. Army Inspector General Alfons Mais said of the Pumas, “there was an unexpectedly high number of failures in the demanding exercise conditions. So far, the Puma combat vehicle has proven to be increasingly reliable in terms of operational readiness.”
The commander of the 10th Armored Division, General Ruprecht von Butler did not have such an optimistic outlook of the Pumas, saying, “Unfortunately, I have to express myself so harshly. It cannot be compared with the usual reliability of German ground vehicles.”
While the Puma tanks are known for their high-quality armor, they are notoriously unreliable. While the German military has been replacing its Marder tanks from the 1970s with the more modern Puma ground vehicles, the military has stopped purchasing Pumas due to the vehicle’s unreliability.
Lambrecht commented on the Pumas’ failures in recent military drills, saying, “The recent failures of the Puma infantry fighting vehicle are a major setback,” adding, “Our troops must be able to rely on weapon systems being robust and stable even in combat.”
Earlier this month a classified report was leaked revealing that the German military is underfunded, lacking resources, and is struggling to meet Germany’s NATO commitments.