Cougar (vehicle)

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Not to be confused with Mercury Cougar.
Cougar H (4×4)
Cougar in service with a US Marine unit in Iraq
Type Infantry Mobility Vehicle
Place of origin United States
South Africa
Service history
Used by See Operators
Wars Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
War in Donbass
Production history
Designer Technical Solutions South Africa
Manufacturer Force Protection, Inc.
Unit cost $475,000
Produced 2002
Variants See Variants
Weight Curb: 32,000 lb (14.5 t)
Gross max: 38,000 lb (17.2 t)[1]
Length 19.41 ft (5.91 m)
Width 9.0 ft (2.74 m)
Height 8.67 ft (2.64 m)
Crew 2+4[1]

Armor Classified
Optional remote weapon station (Common Remotely Operated Weapon System II)
Optional firing ports
Engine Caterpillar C-7 Diesel I6
330 HP (243 kW)
Payload capacity 6,000 lb (2.72 t)[1]
Transmission Allison 3500SP automatic[2]
Suspension 4×4 wheeled
Ground clearance 15 in (410 mm)
600 mi (966 km)
Speed 65 mph (105 km/h)
Cougar HE (6×6)
Mine resistant ambush protected vehicles.jpg
Cougar HE
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by United States Armed Forces
British Army
Wars Iraq War
Production history
Designer Technical Solutions (South Africa)
Manufacturer Force Protection, Inc.
Unit cost $644,000
Produced 2002
Variants See Variants
Weight Curb: 38,000 lb (17.2 t)
Gross max: 49,000 lb (22.2 t)[3]
Mastiff: 50,000 lb (22.7 t) maximum[4]
Length 7.08 m (23.25 ft)
Width 2.74 m (9.0 ft)
Height 2.64 m (8.67 ft)
Crew 2+10[2]

Armor allround protected from .50 cal[5]
Optional remote weapon station (Common Remotely Operated Weapon System II)
Optional firing ports
Engine Caterpillar C-7 Diesel I6
243 kW (330 hp)
Payload capacity 13,000 lb (5.90 t)[3]
Transmission Allison 3500SP automatic
Suspension 6×6 wheeled
Ground clearance 15 in (410 mm)
600 miles (966 km)
Speed 65 mph (105 km/h)

The Cougar is an 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 vehicles are integrated by Spartan Motors.[2] These vehicles are protected against small arms, land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using a combination of design features and materials to protect both the crew and engine compartment against a wide range of attacks.[6] 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 (38 °C) in Iraq.


Force Protection, Inc. was formed in 2002 when Sonic Jet purchased Technical Solutions Group, using the name Sonic Jet until 2004. Technical Solutions Group had been a defense company in the US that 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.[7]

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. This was 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.

After leaving the factory, the first vehicle was only trialed by doing some circuits of the company campus and trundling over a few rocks.[citation needed] 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 Cougar was fully trialed when it became part of the MRAP program.

The first Cougars were called HEV (hardened engineer vehicle), 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 (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) and other vehicle programs.[8] 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.[7] Since then, Cougar vehicles have been hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) many times in Iraq with few fatalities. Britain chose the Cougar over the RG-31 Nyala for their "Mastiff" APV.[9][needs update]

As of December 2011, the Pentagon planned to add the Crows II remote weapon station and the Frag Kit 6 anti-EFP armor.[citation needed]

Official data state, that the Cougar is able to withstand a blast of at least 14 kg TNT under a wheel and 7 kg TNT under a belly.[10]


The Cougar comes in two main configurations, a 4×4 and 6×6. It is designed for the transport and protection of troops and equipment, especially against mines or IEDs. The two main configurations come in specific variants.

Cougar HEV (Hardened engineer vehicle) 
4x4 and 6x6 vehicles ordered in 2004 by the USMC.
Badger ILAV (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle) 
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 six wheel version can carry 16). 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,[citation needed] 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 (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle) 
4x4 and 6x6 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 4x4, the ISS is fitted with an integrated independent suspension system that gives the vehicle increased cross-country mobility.[11]
Ridgeback PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle) 
British version of the Cougar 4x4 from FPII base vehicles with a British armor package and electronics, including installation of Enforcer remote weapon stations on some vehicles. In 2015, Salisbury coroner David Ridley raised several “points of concern” relating to the vehicle when recording a narrative verdict on the deaths of four soldiers who drowned in Helmand, Afghanistan in June 2010.[12]
Mastiff PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle) 
British version of the Cougar 6x6 which arrived in Afghanistan during December 2006, 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 which arrived in Afghanistan during June 2009. 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[13] and a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) with screens in the back to display its camera feed.[14]
Wolfhound (Heavy Tactical Support Vehicle) 
British modification of the Cougar 6x6, 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[15] for gun tractor and logistical roles.[16]
Several thousand vehicles of 4x4 and 6x6 configuration for all of the US Armed Forces, though mostly for the USMC. Over 3500 MRAPs were to be delivered by the end of 2008.[citation needed][needs update]
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.
Fire Support Cougar
Cougar 4x4 chassis fitted with the complete turret and main gun assembly of the Panhard AML-90 armored car. In service with the Djiboutian Army.[17]
Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordnance (RADBO)
Category I Cougar equipped with a U.S. Air Force-designed directed energy weapon, interrogator arm, console, and other features to clear unexploded ordnance from airfields.[18]


Map of Cougar operators in blue

Operational history[edit]

British Mastiff with Choker mine rollers in 2012
Polish Army Cougars in Afghanistan

The Cougar is used primarily by the United States Armed Forces and 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 (Hardened Engineer Vehicle) and the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRV) 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 variant is 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 (General Purpose Machine Gun), L110A1 Light Machine Gun, L11A1 Heavy Machine Gun or L134A1 40mm Grenade Machine Gun.[33] 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 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".[34][35] 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 (UORs). 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 4x4 variants, named Ridgback were being ordered to protect troops from mines and roadside bombs.[36]

Canada has deployed the Cougar since October 2007 in Afghanistan.[37]

From November 2008, forty Cougar H were lent by the United States for the Polish contingent in Afghanistan. In Polish service they carried 7.62mm PK machine guns.[10]

A British Mastiff suffered an IED attack in Afghanistan in April 2013 which caused three fatalities.[38]

A Ukrainian Cougar suffered significant damage for the first time on 3 December 2014 after being hit by a land mine near Luhansk.[citation needed]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cougar 4x4 specifications,
  2. ^ a b c USMC Cougar/JERRV page
  3. ^ a b Cougar 6x6 specifications,
  4. ^ Cougar H Series 6x6,
  5. ^ ["]
  6. ^ Army Bullets
  7. ^ a b "The truck the Pentagon wants and the firm that makes it"., 10/2/2007.
  8. ^ MRAP Vehicle Order: 1,000 Cougars to be Turned Loose.
  9. ^ UK Land Forces Order ‘Mastiff PPV’ Cougar Vehicles (updated).
  10. ^ a b c Hołdanowicz, Grzegorz: Cougary w Ghazni in: "Raport - Wojsko Technika Obronność" Nr. 12/2008, p. 48-50 (Polish)
  11. ^ Cougar ISS
  12. ^ "Lights Out". Private Eye. London. 15 May 2015. p. 30. 
  13. ^ A Comparison of UK Sensor Turrets
  14. ^ 'Flying Robot' pilot helps find IEDs in Helmand
  15. ^ "defence.professionals". Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  16. ^ MOD Order Details for the Wolfhound Vehicle Archived May 13, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ a b "Military parade reveals Djibouti's new Cougar MRAPs". Jane's Defense Weekly. 2016-07-08. Retrieved 2016-08-08. 
  18. ^ Army, Air Force take bomb disposal to new level with lasers -, 1 July 2015
  19. ^ Force Protection, Inc. - In the News
  20. ^ Canadian Forces Armour — EROC Cougar Route-Opening Vehicle
  21. ^
  22. ^øretøjeroverdragestilstyrkeniAfghanistan.aspx)
  23. ^ Djibouti parades new armour
  24. ^ Hungarian Military Orders MRAPs,
  25. ^
  26. ^ Badgers headed for Baghdad
  27. ^ Italian Defense awards contract for MRAPs
  28. ^ SIPRI Arms Transfers Database
  29. ^ "Major U.S. Arms Sales and Grants to Pakistan Since 2001" (PDF). 
  30. ^ "Buddy, Can You Spare An MRAP?".
  31. ^ "UK firms up UOR to core vehicle numbers". 16 December 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013. 
  32. ^ In the News. Force Protection, Inc.
  33. ^ Defence image database Archived February 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ COUGAR/Tempest Mine Protected Armored Patrol Vehicles - Defense Update
  35. ^ Royal Engineers
  36. ^ "UK Iraq troops to be cut to 2,500". BBC News. 2007-10-08. 
  37. ^ : Canadians get new bomb protection
  38. ^ "Afghanistan roadside bomb kills three British soldiers". BBC News. 2013-05-01. 

External links[edit]