Germany suspends procurement of faulty armored vehicles
The German military has halted any purchases of the Puma infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), which have been plagued by numerous malfunctions, until they are fully fit for combat, German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Monday.
Last week, German media reported that multiple Pumas broke down during a training exercise. Berlin admitted that the incident had indeed taken place, with Lambrecht describing the recent failures as “a major setback.”
The minister said Germany would not purchase any more Pumas until they prove to be reliable, calling the parliament’s criticism on the matter “entirely justified,” and adding that “our troops must be able to rely on weapon systems being robust and stable in combat.”
The Defense Ministry also stated that while NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) would not receive brand new vehicles, they would be replaced with older Marder IFVs, which were first deployed in the 1970s at the height of Cold War.
Last week, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing a Bundeswehr internal document, that all of the 18 Pumas that took part in the training exercise had become inoperable due to numerous technical issues. The electronics were said to have been prone to problems, with one vehicle experiencing a fire in the driver’s compartment.
The refusal to procure the faulty armor comes after last week German media reported, citing a confidential document by Lambrecht, that the Bundeswehr is not fulfilling its NATO obligations due to problems with artillery, air defense systems and other equipment.
While Berlin has joined other Western capitals in supporting Ukraine in its fight with Russia by providing it with large quantities of weapons, German officials and media have repeatedly pointed out that the Bundeswehr is lacking weapons to satisfy its own needs.
In November, Eva Hoegl, the parliament’s commissioner for the armed forces, said that the Bundeswehr is currently facing severe shortages of ammunition and certain basic personal equipment. Earlier this month, Frank Haun, the head of Europe’s largest tank manufacturer KNDS, revealed that the German Army has been “squeezed like a lemon” for years, adding that that the Ukraine conflict has highlighted its shortages in weapons.
Moscow has on numerous occasions warned the West that weapons deliveries would only prolong the Ukraine conflict, with President Vladimir Putin recently accusing the West of using the country as a battering ram against Russia.