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July 9, 2006

Killing A Cougar

Cougar New

As of June 2006, there are more than 130 Cougars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vehicles have taken about 1,000 IED hits without a loss of life….

–from  June 6, 2006

News coverage of the war doesn’t usually say much about the firepower of the Iraq insurgency.  As part of a general war update, however, yesterday’s LAT reported that a roadside bomb had destroyed an American armored vehicle outside Ramadi, killing three G.I.’s. The story then went into some detail about the particular vehicle, named the Cougar.

In response to the damage being suffered from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s), the military requisitioned a new generation of “rapid response vehicles” over the past few years.  Specified by the Marines for the purpose of mine clearing and explosive disposal, $97 million was spent for 122 units.  The Navy just invested $50 million for 79 more, and the Pentagon has plans to spend almost a half billion dollars for a thousand for the Iraqis.

The photo above shows this “Mine Protected Armored Patrol Vehicle” or “Cougar.”  The image below shows a Cougar that encountered an Iraqi mine in April 2006.  Despite the damage, the crew suffered only minor injuries.


I couldn’t find an image of the Cougar operated by the 1st Armored Division that got hit this weekend.  What the news points out, however, is that despite our overwhelming superiority in technology, hardware and weaponry, the enemy seems more than able to compensate.

(image 1:  image 2: Sgt Chris Clair, USMC via

  • lytom

    So the quality of occupation forces’ contact with civilians is upgraded!!
    Less personal contact, and the benefit is to protect those who bring the “freedom to Iraqi” in form of rape, killing, torture, and detentions…not to mention the bottom of the living standard in terms of food, clean water, electricity and medical care!
    So now the military has more protection in form of cougar and immunity in foreign lands…Yes, that is the price of “exported freedom”… The military base – embassy – will be just one big cougar – to protect the monsters and leave the people bare!
    Is the oil worth it?

  • Rafael

    If the insurgents can deploy explosives devices (mines by any other name are still mines) that can lift a 60 ton Abrams tank of the ground (and destroy it) then wheeled APC like this one won’t cut it. My guess is that it has other redudant features, like an inner kevlar lining, that minimize the ricochet of shrapnel inside the vehicle and minimize after explosion fires. Seems like a better solution than the overly expensive and totally useless Striker.
    As for the insurgents adapting….War is the ultimate social Darwinian struggle.

  • black dog barking

    Asymmetric warfare grows asymmetrically up. The faceless invisible guerrilla has managed a tactical response to this latest industrial innovation and, as Rafael notes, fewer survive, more intensely. From here our course, should we choose to stay it, looks like a spiral; more armor – bigger bombs. Or we can take a first step toward Iraq Recovery: admit our mission has become unmanageable.
    The Cougar is proof of the dangers we face, proof of our fear.

  • Salam Adil

    Have noticed how these vehicles keep on getting uglier? In the 60’s there was the Jeep, in the 90’s the Hummer and now the Cougar. I am just waiting for the luxury SUV version for Hollywood stars to use when out shopping.

  • floopmeister

    I am just waiting for the luxury SUV version for Hollywood stars to use when out shopping.
    By the sound of it, the politicos and yuppies in Washington DC will have more need of it.

  • paul

    Yeah but where can we buy one of these babies for our daily commute from the suburbs?

  • readytoblowagasket

    Looks kind of like this jacked-up Civic, and may be just as safe.

  • Rafael

    It looks more like a throw back to the 50’s armored cars, maybe something Brinks came up with. Wheels are supposed to be cheaper than threads, if for no other reason that threads wear and tear really easy, specially in pavement.

  • error27

    That is a really awesome looking vehicle. It looks fast and tough. Much safer than the humvee.
    It’s definitely worth spending half a billion on them if it keeps the soldiers safer. Remember Bush says that we aren’t going to leave while he’s president so our guys are going to be there for a while still.

  • HungChad

    I agree with error27 – it is worth the money to keep the soldiers safe. But just out of curiosity – and complete ignorance – is $633,000 (50million/79 units) a reasonable price for this truck? Does anybody know?

  • Paul Kretkowski

    The point of a mine-clearing vehicle–which also seems to be an APC–is to clear mines without anybody aboard getting killed or maimed. It’s inevitable that they’re going to get banged up. Love the DefenseView glamour shot of the Cougar indoors at what appears to be an arms trade show–with the two potted palms next to it!

  • Rafael

    The price: It sound about right. What really beef up the price is the extras, kevlar anti-spalding lining so that your own armor doesn’t turn into deadly swiss cheese, fire supresion systems, air condition system (you should see the redneck jobs done on many Humvees), advance comm and computer systems plus redundant systems that eneable the truck to get struck and roll out of harms way.
    Still the vehicle is far from indestructible, and the guerrillas will find a way to blow them to kingdom come.

  • donna

    It points out that the expensive part of war for America now is the people. In former wars, grunts were disposable, but in an unpopular war, they can’t be.
    Besides, makes a lovely contract to give someone to build the things when they cost so much…
    Imagine if we actually spent this much money on training our soldiers in dealing with an occupation and becoming on good terms with the populace, or perhaps on providing water and electricity to the Iraqi people.

  • readytoblowagasket

    “It points out that the expensive part of war for America now is the people.”
    That would be true if we valued human life. But we don’t. We value a Tonka Truck.

  • Jo

    So? And we still can not win this war and we will not. You just can not win in this type of war.

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