The Schützenpanzer PUMA is a rank VI German light tank with a battle rating of 9.3 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update "Wind of Change".
The PUMA is a futuristic and unusual vehicle. It has a large profile, strong armour for an IFV, and weighs more than a T-72A, but the mobility is still very good because of its impressive engine with more than 1,000 horsepower. The unmanned turret is equipped with a 30 mm autocannon with access to APFSDS and airburst rounds, reminiscent of the Swedish CV90 family. The cherry on top is the MUSS soft-kill active protection system, which interferes with the guidance of incoming ATGMs. Although the PUMA is difficult to hide and is not particularly threatening to most MBTs from the front, it is a fairly tough target to destroy and can be a nightmare for enemy IFVs and helicopters, as it can shrug off most of their weapons and retaliate in turn.
Survivability and armour
The Puma has mediocre hull armour at first sight, supposedly barely withstanding 12.7 mm rounds, as it has at most 15 mm RHA. However, the external armour plates, spacing, internal RHA screens and modules make this vehicle a very capable one when it comes to survivability.
The frontal glacis is in two parts, the upper area which is protected by additional external NERA screens (also giving 5 mm more RHA sloped at 76 degrees) and the lower one is 15 mm RHA sloped at 32 degrees, with an additional 35 mm RHA and a composite screen being hidden behind it. Both the upper and lower plates will not stop anything stronger than 30 mm APDS and chemical shells. The lower glacis plate is not as strong since it is not sloped as much, but penetrating this plate will often result in shrapnel being stopped by the engine deck.
The weak parts on the front of the hull are where the armour is presented flat or has only one module to stop the incoming shells, such as: the connector between upper and lower plate, particularly the left side (because it is only protected by the transmission and has no NERA), the exhaust vent panel on the right under the gun (10 mm RHA, has no NERA coating, only has radiator to stop shells passing through it and even if shells bounce off it they can hit the gun barrel instead), and the driver optics on the left (very difficult to notice and hit, but have absolutely no screening and both gunner and driver are in the shell trajectory). Also, although the engine bay acts as a spaced armour to protect the crew from all sorts of attacks and additionally shields the crew from overpressure, it comes at the expense of being lit on fire.
On the sides, the Puma has access to powerful external NERA, ERA and fuel tanks that protect its sides. However, it is only effective on certain chemical munitions as the side armour of the Puma hull itself is non-existent, and external armour quickly deteriorates when under continuous fire (although it technically can stop 30 mm APDS when the tank is sufficiently angled). This armour is similar to the armour package seen on the skirts of the Challenger 2 and it offers a 500 mm protection against chemical munitions with a successful disruption up to 550 mm at 0° LOS. This protection is increased as the angle of attack becomes higher. It is unable to protect against tandem warheads (as they simply ignore ERA) and will not stop ATGMs with a penetration above the stipulated head-on.
Most of the roof has 30 mm thick composite screen (which technically means it's invulnerable to HE), combined with spacing inside the crew compartment it offers a decent protection for chemical energy shells such as HEATFS, ATGMs and anti-tank grenades, making it closer to the Class 3 (P) protection levels. Unfortunately, there are spots on the hull's front roof which still can be penetrated by HE, allowing tankers with keen aim or big HE to destroy the tank. Overall, spacing and overpressure protection makes the Puma capable of withstanding hits of all HEATFS and even some ATGMs without fatal damage. It is also able to reduce the penetration or stop ATGM like the 9M113 Konkurs and 9M112 (ATGM of the T-64B) although do not expect it to happen all the time, it depends on your angling, where the missile impacts and overpressure mechanics.
Back of the tank's hull is extremely vulnerable, particularly the door, as it can be penetrated by 12.7 MG at general melee ranges and there is nothing to stop enemy shells when they enter the tank.
The turret itself can take a lot of beating and has no crew in it, but its optics can be easily detected when facing an enemy and it technically can be penetrated by 12.7. This is unfortunate, as the ammo belt is right behind the optics, allowing enemy to destroy the ammunition. Another weakness is the turret ring, as it allows autocannon armed tanks to destroy the vertical gun drive.
If the turret ammo rack is shot, PUMA might survive, but it will lose all of the ammo and will have to return to an allied capture point to reload.
- MUSS Active Protection System
The Puma has access to an infra-red jammer, the MUSS APS. It is a constant active APS which provides protection against a wide variety of threats. The jamming device (commander's optics like system on the highest mount of the turret's roof) is mounted on the roof of the tank to cover the vulnerable frontal arc. It is called "Infrared Countermeasure" for the following reason: SACLOS guidance utilizes a beam-riding guidance which is connected to the GPS (gunner main sight in some cases, on others it is a different sight like on T-55AM-1 and T-62M-1) which uses a flare as reference point for the guidance system in the ATGM. The missile moves with the gunner's sight and the flare tries to stay on the crosshairs. IRCM confuses the GPS with a brighter IR light decoy acting as the flare (the flare is also IR) which signals the ATGM to move to a different position nowhere near from the gunner's target. The system works in a similar fashion to the Shtora system found on the Soviet T-90A and the EIREL system found on the French AMX-30B2 BRENUS.MUSS will jam SACLOS missiles including wire-guidance:
- 3M7 (IT-1)
- 9M17M Falanga (Mi-4AV/Mi-24A)
- 9M17P Falanga-PV (Mi-24D)
- 9M112 (T-64B / T-80B)
- 9M113 Konkurs (BMP-1/SPz BMP-1/BMP-2)
- 9M114 Shturm (Shturm-S/Russian Helicopters)
- 9M120 Ataka (Mi-35M/Mi-28N/Mi-28A)
- 9M311 (ZPRK 2S6)
- BGM-71A TOW
- BGM-71B TOW
- BGM-71C I-TOW
- HOT-2 TOW
- HOT-3 (EC-665 Tiger HAD/EC-665 Tiger HAP/EC-665 Tiger UHT)
- MGM-51B (M551/M60A2)
- MGM-51C (XM-803/MBT-70/KPz-70)
- BAe Swingfire (Swingfire/Striker)
- MILAN (Marder A1-/Ratel 20/Warrior)
- HJ-73E (ZBD86)
- Roland (FlaRakPz 1/Roland 1/FlaRakRad)
- VT1 (FlaRakRad/ItO 90M)
- MP ACRA (AMX-30 ACRA)
- Rbs 55 (UDES 33/Pvrbv 551)
Laser-guided missiles (AGM-114 Hellfire, MIM146 ADATS, ZT3, etc) will not be jammed by MUSS. In order to let the APS work, it must be turned on with a key in the control section. The APS module can be destroyed.
MUSS can be used while on the move. While on the move (specially horizontally), the jammed ATGM will move in an uncontrolled direction like normal jamming but riskier, keep this in mind as it can hit a track, engine deck or close enough to create fragmentation and spot the Puma and/or friendlies. When moving forward to an enemy who fired an ATGM, it will be affected by the APS but due to the momentum, the ATGM can hit the Puma if the ATGM is redirected towards the ground. MUSS creates a thermal signature which can be seen with thermal sights. It also can also be used as an IR spotlight. It should be noted that this can be a disadvantage when in night maps as tanks with NVD (except when tanks are using thermal view) will be able to see the light beam. The APS should be turned on and off at commander's discretion. When on day maps, this will not be an issue. MUSS must have a clear line-of-sight with the enemy launcher (at least enemy sights must be able to see the tank). Tanks firing behind cover like the Swingfire can also be affected by the APS. As long as the enemy is within the jamming arc, the Puma will be protected against SACLOS ATGMs. It should be noted that the Puma has access to Laser Warning Receiver (LWR), so the player does not need to rely on visual contact with the ATGM and the launcher. Thankfully, the thermal sights will be capable of detecting the fireball created by the ATGMs at certain distances.
- Rolled homogeneous armour (hull, slat)
- High hardness rolled armour (turret)
- Aluminium alloy 7039 (turret)
- Composite screen (hull roof)
- Bulletproof glass (rear door pane)
- ERA/NERA (hull sides)
|Armour||Front (Slope angle)||Sides||Rear||Roof|
|Hull|| 15+5 mm (76°) Upper glacis - Top
15 mm (61°) Upper glacis - Bottom
15 mm (58-60°) Lower glacis
| 15 mm (13°) Top
10+15 mm Bottom
| 15 mm (10-15°)
60 mm (13°) Door window
| 15+5 mm (14°) Front glacis |
15+30 mm Fighting compartment
10 mm Radiator vent
|Turret|| 25 mm Turret front
10 mm Gun mantlet
|25+15 mm||25+15 mm||15+5 mm|
- Suspension wheels, tracks, and torsion bars are 20 mm thick.
- Belly armour is 15 mm thick.
- ERA and NERA panels cover the sides of the PUMA:
|Hull|| ERA: 340 mm Top |
NERA: 100+150 mm Radiator vent
NERA: 250 mm Bottom
The PUMA will generally cruise at about 56 km/h. The reverse speed is very good and allows to retreat when facing a tank the main gun can't destroy frontally.
|Game Mode||Max Speed (km/h)||Weight (tons)||Engine power (horsepower)||Power-to-weight ratio (hp/ton)|
Modifications and economy
|30 mm MK 30-2/ABM||Turret rotation speed (°/s)||Reloading rate (seconds)|
|Mode||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal||Stabilizer||Stock||Upgraded||Full||Expert||Aced||Stock||Full||Expert||Aced|
- Default: APDS · HEI-T* · HEI-T*
- MK266: HEI-T*
- PMC308: Ahead
- PMC287: APFSDS
|Ammunition||Penetration @ 0° Angle of Attack (mm)|
|10 m||100 m||500 m||1,000 m||1,500 m||2,000 m|
| Fuse delay
| Fuse sensitivity
| Explosive mass
(TNT equivalent) (g)
|4||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__ (+__)||__|
|5.56 mm MG4|
|Mount||Capacity (Belt)||Fire rate||Vertical||Horizontal|
Usage in battles
The PUMA IFV is an effective vehicle against all types of targets, and even the heaviest of tanks such as the T-10M can even be defeated with a flanking manoeuvre with APFSDS to the direct side at point blank. The best way to play the PUMA IFV is to go on the flank, using its mobility to get to places quickly. It has access to generation 3 thermals for the gunner and commander, and a very good optic which makes sniping an easy job to do. With the crewless turret, you can easily sit hull down in most positions which makes it hard for your enemies to effectively target you, though you are a big target, so it's best to be aware on the move.
Another way to play is being a support vehicle and slightly being aggressive, where you can support your teammates at the frontline aiming for weak spots of enemies with APFSDS, or flanking them as the APFSDS can cut through easy weak spots and the sides and rear of enemies. While the PUMA can survive and soak up shots due to the empty space inside the vehicle, you can still be disabled by an engine shot, or a well placed shot to the side where all your crew is packed together. The PUMA provides good protection against most chemical warhead weapons aside from tandem charged warheads, as the PUMA is equipped with a mix of CLARA Explosive Reactive Armour, and composite armour. It may occasionally bounce early APDS and APFSDS to the angle of the frontal armour but it's best to still play cautiously as no vehicle is invincible.
A ground force veteran might notice that PUMA looks and acts eerily similar to the Warrior, but with no ATGM. The less obvious differences are not visible to the eye. It is much better protected and will block HEAT shells almost anywhere, cannot be destroyed with HMG, does not explode if shot into the turret, has no ammo racks in the back. Its gun is belt fed, fires much faster and harder, but it can be ammo starved like SPAAs, if direct destruction is impossible. It also works as a great equalizer - even though it has no ATGM, it will not let almost anyone around it to use them either. Treat it as a medium tank, or a single mistake will allow it to immediately disable your weapon, then bully you and your teammates at its leisure.
Here are some tips for various ammunition types:
- Semi-auto ATGM - Forget about it. Unless it is very close to you, IRCM will derail the missile into the ground. If you want to use it, hit the IRCM on top of it with something else until it breaks, then hit the tank with ATGM. Even so, avoid hitting the tank from the side, especially at an angle, as NERA or ERA might block it. Do not aim at the middle of it if you attack at an angle, hit closer to the front. If you are a dedicated missile carrier with no side weapons - try to bait it as close as you can and pray for a hit, since its IRCM is placed so high that there is literally no way to sneak a missile around it, the less time the missile is exposed to it, the better.
- Wire guided ATGM - Probably it is too weak or uncontrollable to break through its hull, hit the turret first to ensure your survival. Then, depending on range and position, try to hit its LFP (it's weak enough even for gen 1 ATGM), vent (UFP, on your left if head-on, looks like a weird bright square without camouflage, hard to hit), worst case scenario try to hit its left (right when head-on) corner from a side until it gives in (avoid hitting too many ERA bricks at once and don't aim too low or you will hit NERA and external fuel tanks) or immobilize it by any means necessary and finish it off from behind. If in AB mode - see Semi-auto.
- Laser guided ATGM - Fire at the crew in the front. Do not rely on the raw power of ATGM and do not mindlessly slam the back or the middle of the PUMA, it's not an XM-1, it won't blow up even if you will just hit it 12 times randomly.
- HESH - Such a shell isn't very useful, but an attempt could be made to least hit the driver optics or the tip of the gun. If you are lucky enough, the PUMA will take critical damage.
- HE - If it can penetrate more than 31 mm RHA, try to hit turret neck from the front of the hull, as there is a lot of openings in the composite screen, through which an HE might get inside and destroy the crew. There is also a possibility of attacking the driver, as he is not completely screened away, but it's more difficult than just hitting the turret's bottom. The sides are very difficult to penetrate.
- HEAT - If head-on, attack lower frontal plate (aim towards your right to avoid the engine deck), otherwise destroy the turret and swap ammunition. Everything else but rear is likely to bounce or block the shot. If its LFP is out of the reach and you can't get to its rear, try to hit the ventilation, as it has no NERA. If it won't bounce, then you will at least take out the commander, if it will bounce, it is very likely to hit the gun barrel and destroy it.
- Autocannon - Go for the turret ammo belt to disrupt its weapon, then unload into the driver's optics. If that won't penetrate for some reason, you can attack its middle-bottom from the side to destroy the remaining ammo belts, so it becomes useless, then assault its side armour until it eventually collapses or attack the rear.
- APHE - Unlike with the Warrior, its engine deck can stop APHE without collapsing the entire tank, so when attacking it from the front, hit its left (your right) side to ensure its demise. If your fuse sensitivity is 19 mm, do not attack the turret - it is sealed away from the hull and is thin enough to not detonate such shells. Side hits seem to be fatal almost anywhere. When hitting from the rear, aim left or middle, as it will not detonate slow fuses and its crew might survive.
- Pure kinetic shells:
- RB: Your goal is to destroy two crew members in one hit. It is particularly weak to high-calibre APDS. Avoid attacking it at an angle if possible. When head-on, the fastest way is to hit its left (right for you) with APFSDS or APDS - if shot straight, the tank loses both gunner and driver, resulting in a one-hit KO. Be aware that this tank has fake side panels and its real interior is actually very narrow - look for LFP or ensure that you are aiming in between of the tracks first to confirm that you are, in fact, aiming at the crew compartment. From the side, look where the turret connects with the tank, then aim a bit closer to the front, this should take out both gunner and commander. If you can't aim this fast, then destroy the gun. If you missed, turn the gun away and hope that the enemy is too sloppy or busy with something else to destroy your gun. If you still have heavy machine gun, fire at turret's optics to try and damage its ammo belt to buy some time.
- AB: There is a high chance your opponent already has "crew replenishment" researched, in which case if you will go for default strategy, you are likely to lose, as the commander can use the main weapon. Basically, treat PUMA as if you can only take it out in minimum two shots and disable its weapon first.
Pros and cons
- Access to IRCM that can disrupt most common missiles
- ERA on the side of the tank that will stop any chemical warheads
- Crewless turret that can enable you to hull down effectively
- The turret is sealed away from the interior of the hull and won't detonate most of APHE shells, significantly reducing potential of collateral damage
- Unlike with the similar IFVs, it is incredibly difficult to destroy it without actually taking out the crew
- Access to APFSDS for an autocannon
- Good mobility for its size
- Optics can shift from a general melee X2 zoom to the near-maximum sniper X15
- Generation 3 Thermals for Commander and Gunner
- Laser Warning System to alert you of incoming fire from tanks or helicopters
- Big target for its vehicle type
- Fire rate is subpar compared to most of its counterparts
- Has a timed-fuse Shrapnel shell instead of HE-VT, which is inconvenient when fighting aircraft
- IRCM can be spotted easily in NVD and Thermal sights
- No access to ATGMs unlike its counterparts
- Stock belt is subpar for defeating ground vehicles
- Engine area is in the front, can be disabled easily
After it became apparent that the armoured forces introduced in the 1970s (Leopard 2, Marder, Gepard, etc.) would be at the end of their life after 2010, the Leopard 2 Combat Enchantment ||| was canceled and replaced with the Neue Gepanzerte Plattform (New Armoured Platforms). The project was aimed to reduce the cost of combat vehicles by creating a modular common chassis with a focus on survivability, mobility, and operational capacity. Three platforms were theorized.
Platform A: A system designed for heavy ground targets, I.E. Main Battle Tanks
Platform B: A system for engaging the remaining ground targets, I.E. Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Platform C: A system intended for support, such as anti-aircraft, engineering, and recovery
With these specifications in mind, a number of considerations were further researched. Two core crew members, large degrees of automation, and the same mobility as the Leopard 2A4 were all considered. In addition, diesel-electric drives, active protection systems (hard and soft), digital on-board network, effective mine protection, and high performance shells were thought to be important for the design constraints.
In 1998, after tense budget struggles, the development of three parallel systems was determined to be unfeasible and so the Infantry Fighting Vehicle was the only project to move forward.
Start of Development:
In 1996, one year after the German Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement(BWB) had requested design specfications, Krauss-Maffei, Wegmann & Co.,MaK Systemgesellschaft mbH, KUKA Wehrtechnik, and Henschel-Wehrtechnik all presented their concepts. Different designs toyed with placing the engine in the front or the rear, and the weight varied between 55 to 71.9 tons.
After certain design elements were designated as being beneficial, it became apparent that certain ideas, such as the 2 man compact compartment, diesel-electric engines, vehicle electronics, and weapon systems all needed to be tested. From 1997 till 2002 various testing was done on these ideas. At the tail end of 1999, a simulator was install on a tracked vehicle called the Technologieträger Kette. This prototype was tested at the Armoured Personnel Training center in Munster.
On September 11, 2001, following the attack on the Twin Towers, NATO set a new standard that any new vehicles should focus on air transportability.After procuring several Combat Vehicle 90 from Sweden, it was decided that a contract for a new IFV to be developed in Germany was to be commenced.
In 2004, the BWB signed a contract for 5 pre-series Puma's with the option to order an additional 405 vehicles. The Pumas were received in 2006 on time and were used for early testing for the different systems. This included the MUSS Active Protection System and to uncover any potential weak points. This testing found issues with the drive train and drive itself. During the 6th status report, the BWB was considerably angry at the lack of progress, the Bundestag's Budget Committee approved the order for the Puma and the contact was signed in 2009. A total of 405 units were to be purchased at a price of 3.1 billion Euros. In 2012, after struggles with production, the total number of units was changed to 350 with the price ballooning to 5.99 billion Euros.
Due to technical problems, two units arrived early in 2010 for testing to see if there need to be any improvements or changes. After eliminating some shortcomings, the tank was tested again.
On April 13, 2015 the army inspector declared the formal introduction of the Puma IFV into the German Army. Training began the same year with seven vehicles available with additional units arriving in the following months.
Criticism started early in the Puma's life cycle after large cost increases and time delays. Ever increasing change requests and the absurd 117 legal provisions that need to be followed, caused the delays and increase in cost. As early as 2013, there was a list of almost 1,000 different issues and deficiencies within the project.
At a price of 17 million Euros per unit, the Puma is the most expensive IFV in the world. In addition, due to the increased weight parameters during development, the Puma requires increased transportation for its modules that make it combat effective.
With costs as ballooned as they were, other armies within Europe, most notably the Dutch army, decided to stop using German IFVs and switch to the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90.
Another point of criticism is the 5.56x45 machine gun mounted in the turret. The standard for most IFVs and MBTs is the 7.62x51 NATO cartridge. The idea behind using the lighter cartridge is to standardize the ammunition used for both soldiers and the machine gun.
- Other vehicles of similar configuration and role
|Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW)|
|Leopard 1||Leopard I · Leopard A1A1 · Leopard A1A1 (L/44) · Leopard 1A5 · C2A1|
|Leopard 2||PT-16/T14 mod. · Leopard 2K · Leopard 2A4 · Leopard 2 (PzBtl 123) · Leopard 2 PL · Leopard 2A5 · Leopard 2A6|
|*By the Deutsche Entwicklungsgesellschaft consortium, in collaboration with the General Motors Company.|
|SPAAs||Gepard · Gepard 1A2|
|Leopard 1||▄Leopard 1A5 · Leopard 1A5NO|
|Leopard 2||Strv 121|
|See Also||BAE Systems AB|
|Germany light tanks|
|Pz.II||Pz.II C · Pz.II C (DAK) · Pz.II C TD · Pz.II F · Pz.Sfl.Ic|
|Sd.Kfz.234||Sd.Kfz.234/1 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 · Sd.Kfz.234/2 TD|
|Marder||Marder A1- · Marder 1A3 · Begleitpanzer 57 · DF105|
|Wheeled||Sd.Kfz.221 (s.Pz.B.41) · Class 3 (P) · Radkampfwagen 90|
|Argentina||TAM · TAM 2C · TAM 2IP · JaPz.K A2|
|Czechoslovakia||Pz.35(t) · Pz.38(t) A · Pz.38(t) F · Sd.Kfz. 140/1|
- Ground vehicles
- Germany ground vehicles
- Sixth rank ground vehicles
- Light tanks
- Ground vehicles with explosive reactive armour
- Ground vehicles with composite armour
- Ground vehicles with smoke grenades
- Ground vehicles with night vision device
- Ground vehicles with gun stabilizer
- Ground vehicles with active protection system