Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember the people who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. As such, we decided to step away from our usual news and reviews routine to take a closer look at some of the vehicles our troops have been using locally or in war operations around the world. My vehicle of choice is the Cougar, an MRAP and infantry mobility vehicle specifically developed to be resistant to land mines and improvised munitions.

Produced since 2002 by Force Protection and since 2011 by General Dynamics Land Systems, the Cougar offers protection against small arms, land mines and improvised explosive devices (IED) due to its innovative design and solid armor. It has been used by several operator up until now, particularly in the Iraq (2003-2011) and Afghanistan wars (2001-present). More recently, the Cougar has been deployed in the Donbass war between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

Successful in keeping its passengers alive against explosions caused by mines and IEDs, used especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Cougar MRAP can be credited with saving thousands of lives during the most grueling armed conflicts of the past decade.

Continue reading to find out more about the Cougar MRAP.

Design

Cougar MRAP High Resolution Exterior
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Cougar MRAP trucks feature a monocoque V-shaped chassis and a bullet-proof and blast-proof body.

The truck is produced in various mission variants, including HEV (Hardened Engineer Vehicle), JERRV (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle), (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle), and PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle).

The overall design is that of a conventional heavy-duty truck.

A long nose houses the engine at the front, while the crew cabin sits in the middle. The rear of the truck features a troop compartment that can also carry armament or medical equipment.

It is provided with a double door in the rear of the vehicle and a standard hatch for the roof. All access doors feature armored glass windows.

The Cougar can accommodate six passengers in 4x4 spec and ten passengers in the longer 6x6 configuration. The dual air-conditioning system helps keep heavily dressed troops from overheating in temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in war theaters such as Iraq.

The truck is produced in various mission variants, including HEV (Hardened Engineer Vehicle), JERRV (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle), (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle), and PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle). Cougar also offers a version fitted with an independent suspension system for use in rough terrain.

Equipment

Cougar MRAP High Resolution Exterior
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The truck’s armor package offers protection against direct fire, 7.62mm armor-piercing rounds, rocket-propelled grenades, land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The vehicle can survive the detonation of a 30-pound TNT charge under each axle and a 15-pound charge under the center of its chassis.

The vehicle can survive the detonation of a 30-pound TNT charge under each axle and a 15-pound charge under the center of its chassis.

Ballistic protection is also provided for the radiator, tires, battery compartment, fuel tanks, engine and transmission.

The V-shaped hull is specifically designed to redirect the blast out and away from the passenger area. The vehicles can also be optionally equipped with nuclear, biological and chemical protection systems.

The standard Cougar comes with no weapons. However, it can be fitted with a remotely controlled weapon station using either a 7.62mm machine gun, 12.7mm heavy machine gun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Drivetrain

Cougar MRAP High Resolution Exterior
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The Cougar MRAP is powered by a Caterpillar C-7, inline-six, diesel engine mated to a six-speed Allison 3500 SP automatic transmission. The oil burner generates 330 horsepower and a maximum torque of 860 pound-feet at 1,450 rpm. Tipping the scales at 32,000 pounds, the Cougar 4x4 has a payload capacity of 6,000 pounds. The 6x6 version weighs 38,000 pounds and returns a payload capacity of 13,000 pounds. All wheels are wrapped in Hutchinson VFI runflat tires. The truck has a top speed of 65 mph and a range of around 600 miles.

Purpose

Cougar MRAP High Resolution Exterior
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Due to its blast-proof design, efficient armor and reduced maintenance requirements, the Cougar MRAP has been used with great success by the U.S. military and Coalition forces in combat operations in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Designed to survive the explosive threats posed by the Improvised Explosive Devices and conventional mines, the Cougar MRAP is able to intervene where other military vehicles cannot.

Designed to survive the explosive threats posed by the Improvised Explosive Devices and conventional mines, the Cougar MRAP is able to intervene where other military vehicles cannot.

Its good road speed and endurance makes it perfect for missions during which long distances need to be covered.

The fact that the Cougar is air transportable by the C-17 means it can be shipped rapidly just about anywhere in the world.

Since its inception in 2002, the Cougar MRAP has been used in command and control, explosive ordnance disposal, patrol, convoy support, forward observation, reconnaissance and medical evacuation missions.

No fewer than 13 countries from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa use Cougars. These vehicles are either purchased from General Dynamics Land Systems or loaned from either the United States Army or the OSCE.

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    • Expensive for most governments
    • Initial fast-paced deployment led to several safety problems
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