Armor: Puma Leads To Lynx

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July 5, 2016: The German firm (Rheinmetall) the produces the new German Puma IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) for the German Army and some export customers has privately developed (without government support as with the Puma) the similar Lynx. What makes the Lynx different is a more flexible design that can appeal to a wider number of export customers. All the features of the Puma, and much more besides, are available for Lynx. Unlike the Puma, the Lynx is available in two chassis sizes. The smaller KF31 can carry three crew and six passengers while the KF41 has a more powerful engine and carries eight passenger. Each has a turret which can be equipped with 30mm or 35mm autocannon plus a 7.62mm machine-gun. The KF31 has a top speed of 65 kilometers an hour and the KF41 is 70 kilometers an hour. Each model can be equipped with a wide variety of electronics and different degrees of armor protection. Thus weight of these vehicles can range from 30 to 44 tons. The lighter models are based on the slightly smaller KF31 chassis. Both models can be configured as IFVs, recon vehicles, command vehicles, ambulances or vehicle recovery (tow and repair).

The idea behind Lynx was that the popularity of the Puma among its German units would not always translate to many foreign customers. The first of 350 Pumas was delivered to the German Army in 2015 and all will arrive by 2020. Puma replaces 2,000 Cold War era (1970s) Marder IFVs. Puma contains lots of innovations, many of them suggested by Marder users. The basic model has a remote (from inside the vehicle) control turret equipped with a new 30mm automatic cannon. This type of system has worked well in Iraq, where it was widely used in American vehicles. The Puma armor protection comes in three levels. The basic level results in a 29.4 ton vehicle that protects against artillery, heavy machine guns (up to 14.5mm) and RPG rounds. There's a 31.5 ton and 43 ton version. The Germans have settled on the 31.5 ton version as the standard. This one gives all round protection from 14.5mm machine-guns, and some protection from 30mm rounds.

The Puma's 30mm cannon can fire computer controlled shells that will detonate inside of buildings or over troops taking cover behind a wall or in a trench. The 30mm cannon can fire up to 200 rounds a minute, and has a range of 3,000 meters. The vehicle carries 400 rounds of 30mm ammo, and over two thousand rounds for its 7.62mm machine-gun. Optional weapons include a guided missile launcher or automatic grenade launcher. The 30mm gun also has an armor piercing round that is also effective against personnel (FAPIDS-T, or Frangible Armor Piercing Incendiary Discarding Sabot - Tracer). The Puma has a crew of three (commander, gunner and driver) and carries up to eight infantrymen (or cargo) in the rear troop compartment. The Puma is also "digital." Noting the success the U.S. Army has had with equipping their armored vehicles with "battlefield Internet" communications equipment, the Germans did the same with Puma. Production of Puma will continue through the end of the decade. The Puma is 7.4 meters (24 feet) long and air conditioned. Top road speed is 70 kilometers an hour.

 


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