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Sturgeon's House

The former ACV-Puma


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The Armored Combat Vehicle Puma started as a privat-venture betwen Krauss-Maffei and Diehl in 1983. The two first prototypes were ready first in spring 1986 with a Kuka 20mm two men turret and second in autumn with a Diehl 120mm mortar turret. 

ACV-Puma was intented as an export armored vehicle of the 16-28 t class. 




By 1983 original concept, it was offered with two engine options (400/600hp) to cope with the level of armor protection asked.

The running gear was a mixt of both Leopard-1 and 2 components :

- Leo-1 : road wheels, track support rollers, torsion bars and even the driver's seat ;

- Leo-2 : track adjuster, cooling system components and sproket hub.

It was possible to run the engine outside of its compartment. 


In 1988, the concept was improved further :

- the class range reached 38t ;

- the engines offer was 440 or 750hp strong ;

- the chassis was now available in two length (5/6 road wheels) and  hight/low profil hull (20cm).


The ACV-Puma was a contender at the Norwegian IFV programme from 1991 and the Turkish 1987 relaunched TIFV programme.

Norway chose CV-90 and Turkey, the AIFV.

(If anyone have information about how it was a serious contender, I'm interested)

It was also evaluated by the Swiss army in 1991. I don't know if it took part to the Char de grenadiers 2000 programme. 



In 1983´s concept, the difference betwen the low profil hull and the 20cm higher hight profil hull was obtained by a "box shape vertical raised" rear compartment. With the 1988's design, the front slop is now different to achieve a better ballistic protection. 


When considering documentations of this period, it's important to note the mine/IED protection was not a priority like today. 


I'll post soon a scan showing general layout of the troop compartment. It's a Marder/BMP old fashion one with soldiers facing outside. 


Even if it was not a success at exportation, I think ACV-Puma must be known because of both :

- the outdated combat beliefs of the 80's (still vigourous today) ;

- and advanced proposal  such as the differential hull length from the drawing board. 


I have a question :

Does anyone known if a 6 road wheels chassis was ever built ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Btw. PUMA in this case is an acronym that stands for "Panzer unter minimalem Aufwand" ("armored vehicle (created) with minimal effort"), which doesn't actually seem to be a good marketing name. I'd propose to call it "PUMA" or "PumA" rather than "Puma" to highlight the difference between the modern Puma IFV (though in German Army lingo, it is officially called "PUMA", because all combat vehicle names are written with capital letters only). The name doesn't seem to increase trust into the vehicle (something made with low effort is usually bad), but refered to the recycling of already existing parts for cost reductions. In case of the ACV PUMA prototypes, between 55% and 71% of the parts are taken from the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2, but they used civilian MAN engines, which costed only ~25% of the Leopard 1's MB 838 engine. The transmission is based on the HSWL-284C from the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (and Marder 2), it shares about 80% of components with them.


Five prototypes of the PUMA were made, three for the industry (light, medium and "heavy" with 750 hp engine; designated PT1, PT2 and PT3), while two prototypes (PM1 and PM2) were bought by the German Army - these were used for testing the concept and technology, leading to the development of the Marder 2 IFV. The usable volume of the PUMA was between 16 m³ and 21 m³ depending on variant. The ACV PUMA PT1 was later served as a testbed; it was fitted with a decoupled running gear for trials of the new technology.

AFAIK the ACV PUMA was not tested for the Swiss Schützenpanzer 2000/Char de grenadiers 2000 program, the Marder M12 (Marder 1A3 with 30 mm turret) was tested instead.



One prototype (light chassis with four roadwheel pairs) is/was owned by a company that rents military vehicles to movie makers. It is 18 tons heavy, 3.4 metres wide and has a V6 MAN diesel engine (325 kW output). It uses the same roadwheels as the Leopard 1, which are claimed to last 13,500 km. The tracks are said to last 15,000 km. The hydraulic shock absorbers of the running gear are taken from the Leopard 2. The width is said to increase to 3.7 m once skirts are added.




At a later stage they decided to put a partly disassembled Leopard 1A5 turret on the chassis, which is quite stupid based on the weight (full Leopard 1A5 turret weighs ~10 tons, exceeding the capabilities of the light ACV PUMA chassis). Rather than weighing 25 tons (as designed), the vehicle currently sits at 32 tons! It is available for sale.




Krauss-Maffei decided to do something similar, offering the Leopard 1A5 turret on the "heavy" PUMA chassis (five or six roadwheel pairs, 750 hp engine) for export.


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10 hours ago, Xoon said:

Out of curiosity, why are some vehicles 3,4m wide?  

Does it have to do with tunnel width? 


Here in Norway, our roads are usually 2,5m, 3,1m and wider than 3,6m. 

According to Technology of Tanks it's rail gauge loading limit.  Tracks wear out quickly compared to wheels, so ideally an army will cart its tanks where they need to go on trains and occasionally on wheeled tank transporters.  

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