The Defence Vehicles Division of IVECO developed the Puma family of 4x4 and 6x6 light armoured vehicles to meet the requirements of the Italian Army.
After extensive trials with prototype vehicles, the army placed a contract with IVECO in 1999 covering the supply of 540 Puma vehicles. The first vehicles were completed in 2003.
Of the 540 vehicles, 320 will be in the 6x6 version with the remaining 220 in the 4x4 configuration. The 6x6 version of the Puma will typically be used in the armoured personnel carrier (APC) role, while the 4 x 4 version will typically be used for reconnaissance.
To reduce overall life-cycle costs, the Puma family shares many common components, such as the diesel engine, automatic transmission and suspension.
The baseline APC version of the Puma is armed with a 12.7mm M2 machine gun. However, the vehicles can be fitted with a range of turrets and cupolas developed by Oto Melara, including one with a remote-controlled weapon.
IVECO has developed a number of specialised versions of the Puma for the Italian Army. These include ambulance, command post, 81mm mortar, air defence with MBDA Mistral missiles and two anti-tank (one with the Raytheon TOW and one with the Euromissile MILAN anti-tank guided missile system).
The Puma design is such that it can be adopted for a wide range of other roles and missions. Standard equipment includes powered steering, run-flat tyres, a nuclear, biological and chemical defensive system and afire-detection and -suppression system.