The Federal Court of Auditors apparently warned of the debacle surrounding the German infantry fighting vehicle Puma in December. As early as September, the authority recommended in a test report that negotiations regarding retrofitting be broken off. Nevertheless, 850 million euros were released for this in December.
On December 14, the budget committee in the Bundestag released 850 million euros for the retrofitting of 143 Puma tanks. What the members of parliament did not know at the time: During a maneuver the day before, 18 of 18 armored personnel carriers of this model had failed.
The “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” now reports that on September 2, the Federal Court of Auditors recommended “breaking off the contract negotiations because neither the specifications of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag (HHA) have been implemented nor the system is technically mature enough to justify a follow-up purchase would”.
Nevertheless, the Defense and Budget Committee in the Bundestag was informed in mid-December that the “technical maturity” of the tanks was “assessed significantly more positively” than by the Court of Auditors. This was linked to the request to release 850 million euros.
However, a letter from the Ministry of Finance dated November 30 made it clear that the 143 Puma tanks would not be fully operational even at six million euros per vehicle. The necessary conversions are “currently being evaluated in terms of content and finances,” it said.
The members of the budget and defense committee nevertheless released the 850 million euros because they only found out belatedly about the defects and the embarrassing failure of the Puma tanks from a “Spiegel” report. Instead of using them for NATO’s rapid reaction force, 50-year-old Marder-type armored personnel carriers are now being sent to NATO.