In this suggestion we’ll be looking at an ACV PUMA variant equipped with the Cockerill CB25 turret.
The ACV PUMA is a German IFV which started its life in 1983 as a private venture between Krauss-Maffei and Diehl. The vehicle was aimed at the export market, but also at Germany’s very own Bundeswehr. To facilitate production and development of the vehicle, it used parts from both the Leopard 1 and 2. Depending on which variant of the PUMA, the range of common part usage varied from 55% to 75%. This was always part of the design idea and the name of the vehicle reflects that as well. PUMA is an actually an acronym that stands for “Panzer unter minimalem Aufwand”, which in English means “Tank created with minimal effort”. Unlike the Leopards tanks, the PUMA used civilian MAN engines, which further decreased the cost of the vehicle.
The PUMA was made from the start with the idea of existing in several different versions that would support different weight classes. 3 initial prototypes were made from 1986 onwards in 3 different weight classes. The PT1 was a demonstrator for the light class: 4 roadwheels, combat weight up to 25 tons and a 440 hp engine. PT2 was the medium class with 5 roadwheels, combat weight up to 32 tons and a 750 hp engine. Finally there was the PT3 which had 6 roadwheels, the same 750 hp engine as the PT2 and a combat weight of up to 38 tons. The design of the PUMA allowed for a light version to quickly be converted into a medium version and vice-versa. All it took was the addition of an extra roadwheel and potentially swapping the engine. Two more prototypes were built for the Bundeswehr, these were designated PM1 & PM2 and were used for testing. Results from these tests would later lead to the Marder 2 vehicle.
Unfortunately for the ACV PUMA, it came at about the worst possible time. By the end of its development cycle, the Berlin wall had fallen and the cost of German reunification as well as large scale demilitarization due to the end of the cold war meant that there was little to no interest to acquire the vehicle. Germany’s Marders remained in service and are only now being replaced by a different PUMA.
The specific version we are looking at in this suggestion is a light PUMA. As you can see in the images, it only features 4 roadwheels. This would also indicate it was powered by a 440 hp engine. The same turret has also been mounted on both medium and heavy variants of the chassis, but those are for a different suggestion. The mounted turret for this variant was a Belgian Cockerill CB25 turret. Main armament consisted of a 25mm Oerlikon KBB autocannon with a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The 25mm cannon has dual feed and can fire at up to 800 rounds/minute. This turret was optionally stabilized, I’m not aware if this option was present on the PUMA. It also featured NVDs, and possibly a laser rangefinder, but the latter I’m not certain of. It at least seems likely for a vehicle in the 80s-90s.
The vehicle’s armor is expectedly light, but protects the crew against 7.62mm and possible even 14.5mm munitions from all angles, while the strongly sloped front is even able to withstand 30mm autocannon fire. The armor can also be upgraded through various packages, but it is unclear if these were ever mounted.
- Crew: 3 (driver and commander, gunner in the turret)
- Length: 5.80 m
- Width: 3.25 m
- Height: 2.50 m
- Weight: 18 - 25 tons
- Engine: 440 hp MAN diesel engine
- Power-to-weight: 17.6 - 24.4 hp/t
- Maximum speed: 65 km/h
- Main armament: 1x 25mm Oerlikon Bührle KBB autocannon
- Coaxial armament: 1x 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun