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German Puma for US Army?

This is a discussion on German Puma for US Army? within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; CBO | The Army The US CBO issued a report on April 2nd regarding the future of the GCV program. ...


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Old April 3rd, 2013   #1
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German Puma for US Army?

CBO | The Army

The US CBO issued a report on April 2nd regarding the future of the GCV program.

The looked at 4 options: the GCV under development, upgrade the Bradley, the Namer and the Puma and selected the Puma as the best option.

The Puma is a great vehicle, but only carries 6 dismounts, when the Army is explicitly looking for a vehicle that can carry a full 9-man squad, so it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out. If the US does buy the Puma will the go with the Mauser 30mm? Or a Buhsmaster 25/30/35mm?

Thoughts?

Adrian
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Old April 3rd, 2013   #2
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Originally Posted by sgtgunn View Post
CBO | The Army

The US CBO issued a report on April 2nd regarding the future of the GCV program.

The looked at 4 options: the GCV under development, upgrade the Bradley, the Namer and the Puma and selected the Puma as the best option.

The Puma is a great vehicle, but only carries 6 dismounts, when the Army is explicitly looking for a vehicle that can carry a full 9-man squad, so it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out. If the US does buy the Puma will the go with the Mauser 30mm? Or a Buhsmaster 25/30/35mm?

Thoughts?

Adrian
I bet integration of a Bushmaster gun is a given although license production of the Mauser could be an option. Wouldn't be the first license produced AFV gun...

If 9 dismounts is really a must have than IMHO the Namer would be the better option. IMHO there is less risk involved with putting an unmanned turret onto the Namer than there is with stretching the Puma to acommodate 3 more dismounts.

If the US mech infantry can live with the same number of dismounts like they operate now the Puma would be the better choice. Less weight and very flexible and fully capable of performing the mech infantry part in a HBCT. And with virtually no risk apart from putting US battlefield management systems onto it. But that shouldn't be a problem either as it is prepared for easy integration of BMSs from the get go.
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Old April 3rd, 2013   #3
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I think cost is really going to be a factor. The army is shrinking along with its budget and even though it carries 6 soldiers instead of 9 the Germans have built a reputation for building excellent armored vehicles. With the lower cost than the GCV program couldn't the army afford to buy MORE pumas instead of less GCV since the price tag will go up as with most U.S.weapon programs. With the money we spend we should be riding to war in the starship Enterprise.
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Old April 4th, 2013   #4
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German Puma for the US Army?

IMHO, the US Army will not procure the Puma. First, the IFV only accommodates 6 soldiers instead of 9 as required. This is even less than the 7 soldiers that are accommodated in a BFV.

Second, normally and historically, the US DOD would rather design their military equipment and/or armaments controlling configuration instead of relying on a foreign design although Germany is an NATO Ally. Not sure if the Puma has a V-Hull design.

Third, if the US Army is not to proceed on the GCV due to funding constraints, I think they would rather modify the BFV with an up-armored, up-engined and V-Hull design during rebuild. Modification of the BFV will be much less expensive than buying the Puma. The Puma would be basically an FMS procurement for the US Army and they will not be able to control and/or change configuration as readily as possible.

Bottomline: The US Army will find a way to ignore the CBO's analyses and recommendations and will go forward with their own IFV procurement and/or acquistion plans.
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Old April 4th, 2013   #5
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IMHO, the US Army will not procure the Puma. First, the IFV only accommodates 6 soldiers instead of 9 as required. This is even less than the 7 soldiers that are accommodated in a BFV.

Second, normally and historically, the US DOD would rather design their military equipment and/or armaments controlling configuration instead of relying on a foreign design although Germany is an NATO Ally. Not sure if the Puma has a V-Hull design.

Third, if the US Army is not to proceed on the GCV due to funding constraints, I think they would rather modify the BFV with an up-armored, up-engined and V-Hull design during rebuild. Modification of the BFV will be much less expensive than buying the Puma. The Puma would be basically an FMS procurement for the US Army and they will not be able to control and/or change configuration as readily as possible.

Bottomline: The US Army will find a way to ignore the CBO's analyses and recommendations and will go forward with their own IFV procurement and/or acquistion plans.
I agree on these points. A Puma redesign to fit the 9 man requirements would remove any potential cost saving advantages and delay the in-service dates.

In the current economic climate, it is difficult to justify as foreign option anyway, especially when there is a domestic (Bradley) alternative along with a politically attractive job creation component.
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Old April 4th, 2013   #6
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Well, getting all the needed modern stuff into a Bradley (Armor, mine protection, heavier calibre gun, engine, suspension, electronics, optics,...) would essentially mean a new build Bradley. I seriously doubt it would be any cheaper than buying new vehicles. Not to talk of the problems which remain, like getting all the electronics into a vehicle which was not designed with all this in mind. BTW, one would be hard pressed (litterally) to get 7 fully equipped crunchies into a Bradley. 6 is much more realistic.

As far was foreign armament goes I just have to look as far as the Abram's gun...
A more modern example would be the new Army Light Utility Helicopter. Building would take place in the US under license and I doubt this license wouldn't include a lot of leeway in terms of US future upgrades.

Buying just more Pumas for a larger number if dismounts per Mech Inf unit may probe to be much less expensive than designing the GCV, even with higher operating and manpower costs.

And if number of dismounts is really such a big problem than creating more medium and light infantry units instead of HBCTs may be much more usefull. After all putting HBCTs into infantry country and bitching about them not having enough infantry is a bit meh...
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Old April 4th, 2013   #7
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You could be correct. Whoever is to rebuild the BFV will have remove everything and modify the hull to meet current threat requirements.

The one that is constant is the US Army will have complete control of configuration and not deal with other countries on getting permission to modify certain components, armaments, electronics, etc.

You have to understand the mindset of those that want to have this IFV built.
Control of everything.
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Old April 4th, 2013   #8
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And the same should be the case with the new Light Utility Helicopter. With the prospect of getting such a hue contract I bet Rheinmetall and KMW would be willing to give a very broad license.

NIH syndrome could be a showstopper nevertheless. With sequestration on the horizon I am in doubt if the US can pump billions of dollars into neverending development adventures.

Apart from the Stryker (which is a modified Swiss design manufactured in license) the vehicle procurement of the last decades weren't very successfull. Just remember Crusader, NLOS-C, the whole FCS family or the EFV.

Still better than the Brits though...
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Old April 4th, 2013   #9
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I completely agree with you. Yes, the Stryker vehicle is an original Swiss design but completely re-designed by the US Army. Not sure if the GCV will come to fruition that is why I suggested that they may go with BFV re-build and/or modification. At least they already have the hulls, road wheels, torsion bars, maybe electronics that they don't have to start all over again or go to square one. Time will tell with constrained funding...no more gold plated weapon systems.
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Old April 4th, 2013   #10
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I think the problem with US Defense companies is they have gotten into the strange but apparently comfortable model off making tons of money by Developing weapon systems rather than actually making them.

I don't think simply upgrading the Bradley is a viable option. Right now the #1 concern for a new infantry fighting vehicle is survivability/suitability in close and urban terrain. That means (probably) v shaped hull for mines and IED, good armor protection all around including top and rear, good visibility/sensor package, and a weapon system with good elevation and high lethality vs. dismounts. The deploy ability fetish that arose with FCS and Rumsfelds DoD is passing. The US Army (and politicians and the public) want vehicles that bring Soldiers back home alive.

We're probably going to see the US shrink its conventional ground forces (heavy forces in particular) fairly considerably over the next few years because of budget constraints and a shift in focus to the Pacific (which grows the Navy and Air Force). The US IMHO will want a smaller number of more highly capable and survivable AFVs that can be useful in conventional and asymmetric operations and will maximize crew survivability.

The US needs to stop always trying to reinvent the wheel or produce a Starship Enterprise version of everything (which ends up costing too much and getting canceled anyways) and look to available off the self technology and platforms that have room for growth. Puma and Name both fit that bill very well, and could be made in the US under license. There has already been some discussion of making Namer at the Lima Plant for Israel just to keep the doors open!
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Old April 4th, 2013   #11
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Producing the Namer at the Lima plant would also allow for Israeli purchase of it via FMF money. Nice option for Israel.

What is interesting is that while our own procurement system seems to be in shambles like the one of everyone else we at least seem to get new vehicles into service (although in shamefull numbers and therefore at ridicilous prices).

Getting a huge sale with the US Army would bring cost down considerably not only for the US, which would get a nearly risk free procurement, but also for Germany and other future customers.

With US license production, US electronics and probably a US gun such a contract would IMO include a big enough US content to be worthwhile for the US.

Buy the Piranha V chassis for the US Army Stryker and USMC LAV replacement and everything would be good...
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Old April 5th, 2013   #12
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Another option the US Army could possibly do is to purchase the Technical Data Package (TDP) of either the Puma or Namer. It will provide them the rights to do whatever they want to do with the TDP afterwards. Of course the US Army's acquisition of either TDP would have to state that they have the rights to whatever they want to do with it, i.e., alter, modify, change, etc. Then the vehicle design will just be like it could have been US designed like the Stryker.
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Old April 8th, 2013   #13
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Latest article on the GCV:

GCV Competitors Push Back Against Critical Government Report
By Paul McLeary, Staff writer

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) stirred up controversy on April 2 when it released a highly critical report on the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program, just days before the fiscal 2014 budget was set to be released.

But the two companies in the running to win up to $29 billion in GCV work by the end of the decade reacted sharply to the report, with executives saying the government analysts evaluated requirements that haven't been current since March 2011 while not taking into account significant program changes since then.

The CBO admits that it used data first published by the Army in 2010 to conduct its analysis, but did so because it had no more current data. In footnotes, the analysts do make mention of the January 2013 changes in program, which have shifted cost estimates and the program’s timeline.

While the report doesn’t make any hard recommendations, it does outline four options the Army could choose in developing a next-generation armored combat vehicle starting in 2019:

*Purchase the Israeli Namer armored personnel carrier.

*Significantly upgrade the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle by buying new vehicles.

*Purchase the German-made Puma infantry fighting vehicle.

*Cancel the GCV program outright and extend the lifecycle of the current Bradley fleet.

Overall, the CBO maintained that the Puma rated the highest when weighing four areas: protection and survivability, lethality, mobility, and passenger capacity.

Steve Franz, senior director of the GCV program at General Dynamics Land Systems, said that by focusing on those four capabilities the CBO ignored other critical Army requirements, including the ability of the vehicle to adopt the latest communications technologies, the need for the vehicle to incrementally accept modernization over time, and the need for long-term sustainability.

To ignore the incremental modernization requirement is to ignore “probably one of the most critical capabilities that the GCV will bring to the table,” Franz said. “What’s more, leaving communications out certainly glosses over a major capability” that the service is looking for.

The Army is preparing to field the first increment of its vehicle-mounted WIN-T communications network this year to two brigade combat teams deploying to Afghanistan, and the ability to accept the network is a critical component not only for the GCV, but also for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.

The service is trying, with some difficulty, to find ways to install the network on the Bradley and the Abrams tank, and plans to include the capability on all future vehicles.

The data the CBO used to conduct its study “was not consistent with the design we’re putting forward for the GCV,” Franz said.

BAE Systems’ Mark Signorelli offered a similar criticism, saying “the notional GCV that they did their comparisons to bears no resemblance to the requirements that the program issued.”

Signorelli, the president and general manager of vehicle systems at BAE Systems Land and Armaments division, added that since the CBO used the old report, it used an “old set of data and they did a great analysis [of that] but none of the data that they were using was reflective of the current program.”

When the GCV program kicked off, BAE looked at all of the vehicles that the CBO assessed in its report, “and we would have loved to offer an upgraded Bradley that met the GCV requirements, but our assessment was that an upgraded Bradley that met all of these requirements wasn’t a Bradley, it was a GCV.”

A proposed version of the Puma IFV had already been assessed by the Army for the GCV requirement, but it had been rejected when the Army awarded two Technology Development contracts worth $878 million to BAE Systems and General Dynamics in August 2011.

Defense contractor SAIC had partnered with Boeing and two German companies, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Defence to offer the Puma, which the German Army has been using since 2009. The team filed a protest, which was denied in December 2011.

Both executives also confirmed that although the report rates other vehicles as having greater firepower, both companies are offering 30mm guns mounted on their platforms, as opposed to the 25mm requirement found in earlier iterations of the program.

It is estimated the Army will have to spend $29 billion between 2014 and 2030 on 1,748 GCVs.
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Old April 10th, 2013   #14
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Firstly the CBO report isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. They were two years out of date with their GCV information and it tells. For example rating the GCV IFV has being deficient in firepower because it *only* had a 25mm gun compared to the Puma’s 30mm. Not a major point IMHO but anyway the GCV program had upgraded to 30mm for their IFV. So major fail.

Secondly on the Puma *only* being able to accommodate six dismounts and the US Army wanting nine and this being too much of a shortfall I suggest this is a classic case where tabulated data and backwards analysis fail big time. The Puma does not have six dismounts because this is all that can fit inside its armoured hull. It has six because that’s what the German army wanted and the detail design worked to meet this. Between the tracks within the dismount bay of a Puma there is enough room for two rows of four inwards facing seats. But two of these seats (left front) are taken up by a large storage box for a range of sub systems and crew gear. This equipment could easily be moved to the sponsons above the tracks if some of this room was freed up. A simple change like exhausting the engine on the side rather than running the pipe down to the rear taking up the volume of one of the sponsons would achieve this. But eight seats still less than nine? No problem because the US Army wants to fit nine seats in three rows of three facing to the rear in the same space everyone else wants eight seats facing inwards.

So you don’t need a Namer to fit in nine dismounts. The Namer BTW could fit 12 dismounts with a the same seat pitch as the Puma and most other IFVs. It only has eight seats because the Israelis wanted the capacity to load a stretcher with an injured solider on it between the dismounts and still give them room to dismount, remount.
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Old April 10th, 2013   #15
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There is enough room in the Namer for a stretcher + dismounts? Impressive!

I have no problem with the Puma not really meeting the requirements of the US Army, but I am afraid the US will again be overly ambitious with the GCV programme. A new gold plated development programme which in the end will be too expensive to field any real numbers is IMO not very unlikely...
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