Germany to Upgrade Infantry Fighting Vehicles in $1.2 Billion Contract

The upgraded vehicle's fusion mode capability will help to detect camouflaged targets making this the first western vehicle equipped with such a capability.

The German military has signed a more than 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) contract to upgrade 154 Puma infantry fighting vehicles, Rheinmetall announced in a statement.

The PSM GmbH consortium, co-owned by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, will begin the upgrade this month and is expected to complete it in 2029.

Option of Additional Upgrade

The contract also includes an option to upgrade an additional 143 Puma vehicles at a cost of 820 million euros ($973 million). 

The upgrade will modernize the vehicles according to the S1 design. 

Meanwhile, 40 of Germany’s Pumas out of a total of 350 have already been upgraded to the S1 standard, the statement revealed.

The S1 Standard

The upgrade will see the vehicles being retrofitted with “standoff-capable effectors like the MELLS multirole lightweight guided missile system.”

Additionally, the vehicle will be fitted with additional sensors “such as the new driver’s vision system and an improved command-and-control architecture.”

The driver’s vision system allows the crew to “see through the armor, day and night,” which is not possible through the present periscope system, Rheinmetall explained.

Early Detection of Camouflaged Targets

The upgraded vehicle’s fusion mode capability will allow it to combine “daylight vision with a high-quality thermal image,” helping in the early detection of camouflaged targets, day or night. This is the first western vehicle equipped with such a capability as a standard feature, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the S1 version is part of the German Military’s System Panzergrenadier, or mechanized infantry plan, which will see a digitized platform such as the S1 vehicle being linked with a soldier system featuring digital radio technology.

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