The Cougar 4×4 MRAP is part of a family of armored vehicles designed for the U.S. Military; MRAP stands for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected and means that the Cougar is designed to survive attacks and ambushes from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). MRAPs were introduced as a result of the increasing number of U.S. soldier deaths in Iraq caused by IEDs, with the goal of minimizing the number of soldiers that were dying. To date, the Cougar is used by the U.S. Armed Forces, the Iraqi Army, the British Army and the Canadian military.
HISTORY OF THE COUGAR MRAP
There are several different kinds of MRAP vehicles, designed by several different companies; the MRAP Cougar 4×4 is produced by Force Protection Inc. in response to the Marin Corps. requirements. After its initial introduction, the demand for the Cougar has greatly increased after it was reported that no troops had died in over 300 IED attacks; between 2002 when the Cougar was introduced and 2008, 8 deaths have been recorded in thousands of MRAP attacks in Iraq.
DESIGN OF THE COUGAR 4×4
The design of the Cougar is based on the mine-protection technology used in the UK, Rhodesian and South African forces from in the 1950s. There are two versions of the Cougar, the 4×4 and the 6×6; the differences between the two are the size of the vehicle, the 4×4 can carry 6 passengers plus equipment whereas the 6×6 can carry 10 fully equipped passengers, the 4×4 also has only four wheels while the 6×6 has 6 wheels.
The Cougar can be used in a variety of operations including: Command and Control, EOD, Reconnaissance, Convoy Support, Patrol, Med-Evac, and Forward Observation; the Cougar is well-known for its reliability and is built in a way that makes it easy to repair. Even after being hit and damaged, the Cougar can usually be repaired in just a few hours and be back on the field; despite its many uses, the main purpose of the Cougar however is to safely transport troops and equipment.
The Cougar has a Monocoque type, V-shaped hull that extends to the engine bay and directs explosive blasts from under the vehicle; the Cougar is also equipped with dual air conditioners to keep the troops from getting too hot in the very high temperatures they face in Iraq.
VARIANTS OF THE COUGAR
Aside from the two main variations of the Cougar, there are a number of other variants that have been produced such as the Cougar HEV (Hardened Engineer Vehicle), the Badger ILAV (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle) which was manufactured by FPII and BAE Systems for the Iraqi Army, the Cougar JERRV (Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicle) which is the MRAP version of the Cougar, the Cougar ISS which was based on the 4×4 and fitted with an integrated, independent suspension system that gives increased mobility, the Mastiff PPV (protected Patrol Vehicle) which is the British version of the 6×6, the Wolfhound (Heavy Tactical Support Vehicle) which is a British modification of the 6×6 where the bases vehicle was provided by FPII and integrated electronics were provided by NP Aerospace.