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Defence News 21/07/2017
German Pumas to receive range of upgrades

Project System & Management and Rohde & Schwarz GmbH have each signed separate contracts to upgrade the functional capabilities of both future and existing Puma IFVs respectively.

The contracts, broadly speaking, cover the Puma’s communication, visualisation, and offensive/defensive capabilities.

In light of an overall drive towards ‘digitisation’ under the Deutschen Heer 4.0 (German Army 4.0) programme, the Puma has been earmarked for a range of enhancements to its C4I package. A key driver in this is to realise plans to base vehicle communication solutions on a standardised Software Communications Architecture (SCA)-compliant Streitkräftegemeinsame Verbundfähige Funkgeräteausstattung (SVFuA) joint software-defined radio system.

The announcement by Rohde & Schwarz that they had been contracted to integrate the SVFua joint software-defined radio system onto a small batch of Puma command vehicles by 2020 was consistent with the expectation that Puma would be the vehicle chosen for the initial operating capability of SVFuA.

The system’s modular nature, and the ability to adapt its functional scope by uploading new software, means that SVFuA is multipurpose, scalable, and future-orientated. Its capabilities are further expanded by the ability to form ad-hoc networks via a network-capable waveform.

Integration of the Puma into the Bundeswehr’s IT system will be achieved by way of integrated routing technology and the use of internet protocols to bind users to the core network of the mobile communication system, MobKommSysBw. The Federal Office for Safety in Information Technology confirmed SVFuA’s ability to protect radio communication up to the NATO SECRET standard.

SVFuA also facilitates crew and dismount interfacing with the Puma’s FüWES and IFIS systems for weapons engagement and command support to battalion level respectively. Furthermore, SVFuA will potentially resolve the issue of other Bundeswehr vehicles having no connectivity to the battalion-level FüInfoSys-Heer (FIS-H), which has previously forced Boxer squad leaders to use insecure, fixed-frequency radios to connect with higher echelons using voice only whilst on operation.

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