The Cougar is a family of armored vehicles produced by Force Protection Inc, which manufactures ballistic and mine-protected vehicles. The automotives are integrated by Spartan Motors. These specialty vehicles are protected against small arms, land mines and IEDs using a combination of design features and materials to protect both the crew and engine compartment against a wide range of attacks. A Monocoque type, V-shaped hull that extends to the engine bay and serves to direct the blast away from under the vehicle. The dual air-conditioners help keep heavily dressed troops from overheating in the 100+ degree temperatures of Iraq.
4000 of these vehicles will have been fielded under the US military's MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) and other vehicle programs. MRAP Vehicle Order: 1,000 Cougars to be Turned Loose US Defense secretary Robert Gates demanded that the vehicles be ordered in larger numbers after the Marines reported in 2004 that no troops had died in more than 300 IED attacks on Cougars. Since then, Cougars have been hit by IEDs many times in Iraq with few fatalities. Britain chose the Cougar over the RG-33 for their "Mastiff" APV.
The Cougar comes in two configurations, a 4×4 and 6×6. It is designed for the transport and protection of military engineers, especially against smaller ballistic explosives such as rocket propelled grenades, as well as IEDs.
- Cougar HEV (Hardened engineer vehicle) : 4x4 and 6x6 vehicles ordered in 2004 by the USMC. (The Tempest MPV (Mine Protected Vehicle) was not a British version of the Cougar; it was an earlier vehicle based upon a South African design.)
- Badger ILAV (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle) : Based on the Cougar and manufactured by FPII and BAE Systems for the New Iraqi Army.
- Cougar JERRV (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle) : 4x4 and 6x6 variants for the US Army and USMC. Approx 200 ordered in 2005 and 2006, with another 200 ordered in late 2006 but now called MRAPs to take account of the new US military/political initiative to be seen to be responding to public concerns about casualties.
- Mastiff PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle) : British version of the Cougar, with FPII providing the base vehicle and NP Aerospace in the UK integrating electronics and the British armor package.
- MRAP : Several thousand vehicles of 4x4 and 6x6 configuration for all of the US Armed Forces, though mostly for the USMC. Over 3500 MRAPS will be delivered by the end of 2008.
Cougars have been sold with minor modifications from the US versions to the Canadians, Italians and other armies.
- 1050 for delivery by November 2008.
- for Canadian Forces - 6
- - 248 on order
The Cougar is used by the United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Army and has now entered service with the British Army. In service with those countries, the Cougar is used in a variety of roles, including the HEV (Hardened Engineer Vehicle) and the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRVs) while in service with the US Marine Corps and US Navy Seabees.
The British Forces variant will, compared to the original Cougar vehicle, be fitted with large, vertical armor plates which cover the large vision blocks and weapon firing ports. This is in line with British Army doctrine concerning the role of the APC/MICV, specifically that it is to carry troops under protection to the objective and then give firepower support when they have disembarked. The Mastiff will be fitted with a turret sporting either a L7A2 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) - the FN MAG 7.62 x 51 mm, L110A1 Light Machine Gun 5.56 x 45 mm or a L11A1 Heavy Machine Gun .50 inch (12.7 mm) BMG (Browning Machine gun), 40mm automatic grenade launchers, or even a 50mm cannon. One aspect of the British Army's approach to APC/MICV units (which differs to that of the United States) is that ability of the average soldier to fire accurately out of the ports of a moving IFV has been questioned. The large armour plates will also give added side protection from RPGs or IED explosions.
The British Army has operated an early version of the Cougar since 2002 in the form of the Tempest. As of August 2006, the British Army has ordered 86 extra Cougar HE 6x6 vehicles for deployment in Iraq, and they are known as Mastiff PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle). It is conceivable that further orders may follow in the future if the vehicle performs adequately, perhaps replacing the older Saxon armoured trucks (some of which are being redesigned as armoured battlefield ambulances) until the introduction of FRES. Deliveries began in February 2007, and an order for 22 further vehicles was placed in March, bringing the total to 108. In October 2007 Gordon Brown announced a further 140 were being ordered to protect troops in Iraq from mines and roadside bombs.
Canada will take delivery of the Cougar within two months and will be employed in Afghanistan.
- Force Protection Cougar page
- Cougar MRAP H 4x4 Technical data sheet and pictures Army Recognition
- Cougar MRAP HE 6x6 Technical data sheet and pictures Army Recognition
- Cougar page on GlobalSecurity.org
- Cougar 4x4 page and Cougar 6x6 page on deagel.com
- New Cougar HEV to hit Corps soon
- BBC News Article including reference to Cougar Purchase
- News about Cougar at Defense-Update
- Youtube Video of "Future Weapons" episode featuring the Cougar.
- Youtube video of U.S. Military produced show "Iraq Freedom Minute" episode of Cougar MRAP
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