The Israeli Puma Combat Engineering Vehicle

TThe Israeli Puma Combat Engineering Vehicle (Hebrew: פומ”ה פורץ מכשולים הנדסי) is a heavily armored CEV and armored personnel carrier that the Engineering Corps of the Israeli Defence Forces has used since the early 1990s. The vehicle can carry a crew of to eight. The 50-ton vehicle has a speed is 45 kilometers an hour.

The Puma uses the hull of the Sho’t, which in itself is a modified British Centurion tank.

The IDF Puma CEV
The Israeli Puma Combat Engineering Vehicle

Some Pumas are equipped with the Carpet mine-clearing system. This consists of 20 rockets that the crew can fire singly or all together. The rockets contain a fuel air explosive warhead that spreads a cloud of fuel fumes that then detonates. The overpressure from the explosion detonates most mines. The Puma then advances behind a set of rollers that detonate any mines the fuel-air explosion did not get. There is also electronic equipment for detonating roadside bombs or jamming detonation signals.

Armament consists of three 7.62 mm FN MAG machine guns, including one in a remote turret that the crew can control from within the cabin by a Rafael Overhead Weapons Station (OWS). The vehicle also has a 60mm mortar and two launchers for smoke grenades.

Israel is forming a fourth Combat Engineer Battalion that will specialize in dealing with roadside bombs, mines and booby traps. As part of this effort, Israel will also upgrade its Pumas. The army is adding new equipment for dealing with roadside bombs and is training the crews to deal the growing numbers of explosive devices Hamas has been seen using in Gaza.