Puma Veicolo Blindato Leggero
The PUMA family of light armored vehicles [Veicolo Blindato Leggero] has a low silhouette and is available in 4x4 or 6x6 versions. The PUMA is designed and manufactured by Fiat and OTO Melara (now Conaorzlo Iveco Fiat - Oto Malara) based on specifications laid down by the italian Army. The Puma family was planned to enter into service in 1998 in two basic configurations, a 4x4 and a 6x6 version, both capable of a high degree of strategic and tactical mobility. The Puma 4x4 will be used to equip light infantry regiments to increase levels of protection in territorial defence and peacekeeping operations. The Puma 6x6 will be assigned to the cavalry units for tactical reconnaissance tasks. The possibility of mounting them with a range of weapons systems gives them wide flexibility of use.
The main specifications of this vehicle are a weight of approximately 5 tons [4x4], room for six men [4x4], including the driver, with light armament of various types. The Puma has a maximum speed of 100 km/h and a range of 800 km. The hull is of all welded steel armor construction that provides protection from small arms fire and shell splinters, with protection able to withstand 7.62 mm bullets (12.7 mm on the front section). The Puma may need additional armors for ballistic protection. The centrally located commander's cupoloa can be fitted with a machine gun with a bore up to 12.7mm. The hull has been designed to accept add-on armor to provide increased protection.
The PUMA is powered by an Iveco 132 Kw four-cylinder engine with a turbointeroooler which is coupled to a 5 speed Renk automatic nnsmlsslon. Output from the gearbox goes through a transfer box to front and rear differentials. The PUMA has power assisited steering the to the front axle on the 4x4 and the two front axles on the 6x6. Disc brakes are fitted to all wheels and are power assisted. The Italian Arrrry PUMAs are equipped with air-conditioning, heating, a presurrized NBC system, an engine compartment fire protection system (both automatic and manual) and a winch for self-recovery (this is electric on the 4x4 and hydraulic on the 6x6).
The Italian 4x4 PUMA carries a crew of four and the 6x6 carries seven. All vehicle types have 2 rows of three Galix smoke dischargers each. The vehicle is also configured so that additional weapon systems can be fitted. These include anti-tank systems (Milan or Panzerfaust), a 60 mm mortar, a crew machine gun and a 40mm shell launcher (individual weapon version). The Italian PUMAs can atso be fitted with a laser warning system, automatic smoke producer and automatic fire protection system in the crew compartment.
The PUMA can be driven with the driver under armor through three day periscopes, and night vision is provided by a light intensification device (IL). The vehicle is able to accommodate a number of different radio systems linked to three antennas. The PUMA can be tnmportod by CH-47C helicopter or a transport aircraft (G222 airplane on up).
By 2005 the European wheeled combat vehicle segment was saturated. Contractors within Europe compete heavily, usually across national boundaries, within the wheeled combat vehicle segment. A quick market survey uncovers multiple capable vehicles, toinclude Patria's Armored Modular Vehicle (AMV), Steyr's Pandur I/II, Mowag's Piranha, KMW's Boxer, the Iveco / Oto Melara consortium's Centauro and Puma, and GIAT's VBCL. Further, these vehicles are not highly differentiated, leaving the contractors to compete on price, offsets, or some other non-performance factor. It is likely that market forces will drive some of these competitors into mergers and partnerships, and perhaps others into exiting the market.
|Puma 4x4||Puma 6x6|
|Crew||7, driver plus 6 troops||9, driver plus 8 troops|
|Combat weight||5.7 tons||7.5 tons|
|Length||5108 mm||5526 mm|
|Height||1900 mm||1900 mm|
|Height||1678 mm||1678 mm|
|Width||2090 mm||2284 mm|
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