The "Panther" program is the first step within the consolidation of the German defense industry, demanded by the Defense Ministry and promised by the defense industry to preserve key technologies. In past projects, one main contractor (KMW for the Leopard main battle tank or Henschel/Rheinmetall for the Marder APC) used to be responsible for an armored vehicle project. - Adam Geibel
The two major competing German weapons manufacturers, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall DeTec, develop a successor to the 30-year-old "Marder" armored personnel carrier for the German Bundeswehr. Under the project name "Modern Modular Weapons System/MMWS" or a fielding name of "Panther System GmbH", the two firms plan to make a technology leap using a single vehicle platform that can perform the different tasks required of armored personnel carriers. The German army expects the "Panther" to be available approximately by 2008, when the military transport aircraft Airbus A400M will be delivered. The requirement will be for about 400 vehicles and developments costs up to the year 2008 are estimated at $271.5 million (285 million Euros).