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Germany orders 405 armoured fighting vehicles: company

world Updated: Jul 06, 2009 15:25 IST

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Germany has placed an order for 405 Puma armoured fighting vehicles from the defence contractor Rheinmetall, the company said on Monday.

A statement said the order was worth around 3.1 billion euros (4.3 billion dollars), the company's biggest ever, and that deliveries to the army would begin next year.

The deal "clearly demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of the German defence industry as a whole", Rheinmetall chief executive Klaus Eberhardt was quoted as saying.

The Puma, an armoured personnel carrier (APC) equipped with a 30 mm cannon, "is destined to play a key role in international crisis management," the statement added.

It is designed to resist landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices, a major threat to armoured vehicles, and to be quickly airlifted to conflict zones.

Germany has become much more active in international missions under the NATO flag, and the army chief of staff told a parliamentary defence commission last month that German forces would deploy heavy armoured vehicles in Afghanistan for the first time to thwart rising Taliban attacks.