Regarding the criticism that the Puma was too complex compared to the older Marder infantry fighting vehicle, the Rheinmetall boss told Stern: “I know the objection. Then try to win a horse race with a plow horse. And Battlefield is horse racing.”

Regarding the ongoing discussion about the breakdowns in the Puma infantry fighting vehicle from the armaments manufacturer Rheinmetall, the company’s CEO told the “Stern”: There is homework on both sides, in the Bundeswehr and at Rheinmetall. Papperger literally: “For example, we have to protect the screens in the Puma better. In the fighting situation someone kicked in with his boot. It can happen. So it’s our job as a manufacturer to better protect the monitor. There’s a nice grille over there. The bottom line is that the structure, the specification of this armored personnel carrier is not in question. It’s a great device.”

Regarding the criticism that the Puma was too complex compared to the older Marder infantry fighting vehicle, the Rheinmetall boss told Stern: “I know the objection. Then try to win a horse race with a plow horse. And Battlefield is horse racing. The first to fight, the first to see where the enemy is hiding, will survive. The vehicles are for war, not for a video game, it’s about human life. In the future we will have digital battlefields. The Marder from 1970 wouldn’t stand a chance against the Puma. But I’m not allowed to treat the cougar, the racehorse, like the marten, the farm horse.”

Papperger is sticking to plans to build a new KF51 Panther main battle tank. Rheinmetall boss Armin Papperger told “Stern” that Rheinmetall could deliver the KF51 Panther in 15 to 18 months. Papperger literally: “We could use that now. The Panther would help Ukraine.”

On the discussion about the delivery of Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Leopard main battle tanks to Ukraine, Rheinmetall boss Armin Papperger said in an interview with “Stern” that some people (in the political editor) “have misunderstood important things”. Rheinmetall has 40 Marders ready and around 29 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks ready for action by the end of March. The Leopard tanks are intended for the ring exchange with the Czech Republic and Slovenia. Papperger literally: “These tanks belong to the federal government. She can do whatever she wants with it.”

Rheinmetall itself currently has 22 Leopard tanks that belong to Rheinmetall. According to Papperger in Stern, these tanks will not be ready before the end of this year. “It’s not possible before that.” Papperger literally: “Some of these tanks stood there for ten years with the hatch open, they are moldy on the inside. They have to be completely dismantled, all units have to be checked, which takes months. That would be like taking your car apart, replacing broken parts and then rebuilding it. We started with the best vehicles, which took us six or seven months. And now it’s more and more the turn of the even worse-preserved tanks.”

When asked if repairs could be sped up with more staff, Papperger said, “You can have two or three men working on a tank, not 30. These are complex systems. I don’t know how people think I can finish something like this in a week. If nothing has been ordered for over 20 years and the expectation is that the delivery will come tomorrow, then that just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, some in politics don’t understand that.”