Photo: Ft. Leavenworth
As the “last vehicle out of Iraq” returned to the U.S. this week — shipped on a military cargo vessel to the Port of Beaumont — a group of soldiers turned up at the dock to witness the homecoming and cheer on the arrival, noted the Houston Chronicle. It was an MRAP — a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle — and it marked the closing of a significant chapter in Iraq.
The MRAP, an armoured family of vehicles built to protect crews and increase vehicle survivability, has become an important counter-measure against the multitude of homemade IEDs (improvised explosive devices) — the hallmark of enemy fighters previously in Iraq, and of the insurgency in Afghanistan at this time.
Over the last five years in Afghanistan, IED attacks have accounted for at least one out of every two troop deaths. Explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) experts are constantly working to clear the home-made bombs before it’s too late.
USA Today reports more than 16,500 “IED events” (cleared or detonated) were recorded in the past year.
Some time ago, a supposed U.S. Army-produced PowerPoint presentation — celebrating the survival of soldiers after their MRAP was destroyed by an IED — made its way around blogs and forums.
The authenticity of PowerPoint as an official military document was questionable, given its excitable style of language which you can read here.
But the PowerPoint contained some images worth sharing. We had a look at vehicle in question and conclude it is a Cougar 6×6 MRAP by General Dynamics, and not a “Pathfinder APC” as indicated in presentation.
General Dynamics says the Cougar as capable of taking a hit and returning to the field “in a matter of hours.” Its armoured structure has been credited with helping to save lives of service members driving inside when a roadside bomb is detonated below them.
Hit by an IED, massive pieces of the vehicle could go flying. The 10-passenger Cougar 6x6 has a combat weight of up to 64,500 pounds
The engine system of the vehicle appears to have blasted away from the troops riding inside. Newer armoured vehicles are built with a V-shaped hull to disperse debris outwards — protecting the occupants
It looks like the tires were blown off, but still in tact. MRAPs are used for operations such as patrols, convoy support, medical evacuations, EOD, and reconnaissance
A steering wheel could crush a driver's ribs, but that could still mean a lucky escape — there were 252 IED deaths last year
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