The Cougar is a South African-designed United
States MRAP and infantry mobility vehicle structured to be resistant to landmines and
improvised munitions. It 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 vehicles are protected against small
arms, land mines and improvised explosive devices 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 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 temperatures over 100 °F in Iraq. Development
Technical Solutions Group was a defence company in the US which was involved in a range of
products, including mine-resistant vehicles based on South African designs. A few vehicles
were sold to the US Army for evaluation, and a small fleet of heavily protected vehicles
were sold to the British Army in 2001. Technical Solutions was purchased in 2002 by Sonic Jet
and the combined company renamed itself Force Protection Inc in 2004.
In 2004, the new Cougar was designed by a small British-led team in the US at Force
Protection, Inc., in response to an urgent requirement by the US Marine Corps. Contrary
to common belief, this was not a South African vehicle but rather a new design, developed
in the US, based on an evolution of vehicle mine-protection technology used by the South
African Army and Rhodesian Security Forces since the 1970s. The very first sketches of
the new vehicle were made in late March 2004 in response to those initial USMC inquiries.
The rapid development and production that followed was based upon the USMC request that
the first vehicle be delivered within 6 months of an order – which was subsequently placed
in mid-April 2004 for 27 units. The new design was called Cougar to provide
a degree of continuity with the older designs, but had little in common with them. The former
vehicles were almost entirely non-compliant with NATO standards for protection, human
factors and safety, which made those designs obsolete. The Cougar was effectively a totally
new vehicle which incorporated the latest US-made enhancements, a new hull design and
structure, as well as built-in growth potential, including dimensions that allowed for the
addition of the latest armor and protection systems.
The first vehicle was never trialed before leaving the factory beyond doing some circuits
of the company campus and trundling over a few rocks. Urgent operational requirements
dictated that the first unit be shipped to theater as fast as possible and those involved
in the project decided that the risk of doing so was outweighed by the advantages of having
the vehicle available. The operational record of the Cougar validates that decision. It
was fully trialed when it became part of the MRAP program.
The first Cougars were called HEV, which became JERRV when the Army joined the program, and
then MRAP for political reasons when the requirement for many thousands of units was issued.
Some 4,000 of these vehicles were fielded under the US military’s MRAP and other vehicle
programs. 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, Cougar vehicles have been hit by improvised explosive devices
many times in Iraq with few fatalities. Britain chose the Cougar over the RG-31 Nyala for
their “Mastiff” APV. As of December 2011, the Pentagon plans to
add the Crows II remote weapon station and the Frag Kit 6 anti-EFP armor.
Variants The Cougar comes in two configurations, a
4×4 and 6×6. It is designed for the transport and protection of troops and equipment, especially
against mines or IEDs. Cougar HEV
4×4 and 6×6 vehicles ordered in 2004 by the USMC.
Badger ILAV Based on the Cougar and manufactured by FPII
and BAE Systems for the Iraqi Army. The ILAV is based on the Cougar, which can carry ten
passengers. The Cougar/ILAV vehicle uses a capsule design to protect the passengers and
key vehicle components from mines and roadside bombs. The larger Cougar costs about $730,000
each, fully equipped. The Cougars have been very popular with American troops, and with
Iraqis who have worked with them. 865 ILAVs were ordered by Iraq and 18 by Yemen. The
ILAV gives the Iraqis the same degree of protection that most Coalition troops have.
Cougar JERRV 4×4 and 6×6 variants for the US Army, USAF,
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.
Cougar ISS Based on the Cougar 4×4, the ISS is fitted
with an integrated independent suspension system that gives the vehicle increased cross-country
mobility. Ridgeback PPV
British version of the Cougar 4×4 from FPII base vehicles with a British armor package
and electronics, including installation of Enforcer remote weapon stations on some vehicles.
Mastiff PPV British version of the Cougar 6×6, with FPII
providing the base vehicle and NP Aerospace in the UK integrating electronics and the
British armour package. The Mastiff 2 is an improved version with a capacity of 2 + 8.
The Mastiff is armed with a 7.62 mm GPMG, 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Gun or 40 mm Grenade
Machine Gun. Mastiff 2 ‘Protected Eyes’
A version of the British Mastiff specially designed for the Talisman Counter-IED program.
It is fitted with an M151 Protector remote weapon station, mine plow, optical camera
and a Micro Air Vehicle with screens in the back to display its camera feed.
Wolfhound British modification of the Cougar 6×6, with
FPII providing the base vehicle and NP Aerospace in the UK integrating electronics and the
British armor package. The first Wolfhounds entered service in Afghanistan in October
2010. 130 have been ordered for gun tractor and logistical roles.
MRAP Several thousand vehicles of 4×4 and 6×6 configuration
for all of the US Armed Forces, though mostly for the USMC. Over 3500 MRAPs will be delivered
by the end of 2008. Timberwolf
Cougar variant that was being marketed by Malley Industries of Dieppe, NS Canada for
the replacement of the RG-31 and LAV for the Canadian Forces; Malley Industries lost the
contract to Textron TAPV. Operators
Canada for Canadian Forces – 40 Cougar JERRV Croatia – 4+ US Army donated several Cougar
MRAPs to the Croatian Army ISAF contingent in Afghanistan.
Denmark – 40 Cougar leased from USA. Used in Afghanistan by the army.
Djibouti – 12 for Djiboutian Army Georgia – 10 in service Georgian Land Forces.
Also Georgian HQ units who are part of the ISAF are using the Cougar HEs in the Helmand
Province. Hungary – 3+10 Cougar ordered
Iraq – Badger 378 ordered in 2007,+ 865 ordered by 2011.
Italy – 6 Cougar HE used in Afghanistan by the Italian Army.
Pakistan: – 20 Cougar JERRV received from US under Coalition Support Fund in 2010.
Poland – 40 on loan from the US Romania – Used in Afghanistan by the army.
Ukraine – 20 vehicles in service with the National Guard.
United Kingdom – 400 Mastiffs, 125 Wolfhounds and 160 Ridgebacks.
United States Blackwater USA
US Army US Navy
US Marine Corps US Air Force Operational history
The Cougar is used by the United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Army and has now entered
service with the British Army as well as law enforcement agencies in the United States.
In service with those countries, the Cougar is used in a variety of roles, including the
HEV and the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicles while in service with
the US Marine Corps, US Navy Seabees, and US Air Force RED HORSE. Compared to the original Cougar vehicle, the
British Forces variant is to 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 give firepower support when they have disembarked. The Mastiff is
fitted with a turret sporting either a L7A2 GPMG, L110A1 Light Machine Gun, L11A1 Heavy
Machine Gun, L134A1 40mm Grenade Machine Gun, or even a 50mm cannon. One aspect of the British
Army’s approach to APC/MICV units is that ability of the average soldier to fire accurately
out the ports of a moving IFV has been questioned. The large armor plates add side protection
from RPGs or IED explosions. The British Army has operated an earlier MPV
named “Tempest MPV”. As of November 2008, the British Army has ordered over 400 Cougar
vehicles for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan following a series of Urgent Operational Requirements.
Deliveries of the first 86 Mastiffs 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 Mastiffs and 157 new Cougar 4×4 variants, named Ridgback were being
ordered to protect troops from mines and roadside bombs.
Canada has deployed the Cougar since October 2007 in Afghanistan.
A British Mastiff suffered an IED attack in Afghanistan in April 2013 which caused three
fatalities. Gallery See also
Kamaz Typhoon Ural Typhoon
Cheetah MMPV Buffalo
MRAP International MaxxPro
Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle References External links
 “Mastiff” on British Army website Mastiff 2 on Army-Technology.com
Force Protection Cougar page Hungarian Cougar 4×4, EOD version
Cougar MRAP H 4×4 Technical data sheet and pictures Army Recognition
Cougar MRAP HE 6×6 Technical data sheet and pictures Army Recognition
Cougar page on GlobalSecurity.org Cougar 4×4 page and Cougar 6×6 page on deagel.com
New Cougar HEV to hit Corps soon BBC News Article including reference to Cougar
News about Cougar at Defense-Update Cougar H/HE on Armour.ws
Youtube Video of “Future Weapons” episode featuring the Cougar.
Youtube video of U.S. Military produced show “Iraq Freedom Minute” episode of Cougar MRAP
Project Details of Cougar 4×4 Variant on Army Technology
Mastiff Force Protection Vehicle on Armedforces.co.uk