Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have taken more American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan than anything else. To face this threat, a new breed of military vehicle was built that can withstand the debilitating blast and keep troops alive.The Cougar may be the finest example of that effort and it’s saved countless lives as the war drags on into its twelfth year.
Not only does it keep troops protected, it keeps them mobile. The Cougar can return to the field in a matter of hours with some simple repairs after being hit.
The Cougar was developed in response to an urgent request from the U.S. Marines for a vehicle that would fare better than a Humvee in IED strikes.
The biggest selling point was the V-shaped hull, which directs explosive blasts away from under the vehicle.
A small amount were sent overseas, but the mass order came after then-defence Secretary Robert Gates got word in 2004 that no Marines had died in over 300 IED attacks on Cougars in Iraq.
The seats can fit 10 troops in full gear — five more than a Humvee — and its climate control beats the 100+ degree heat in Iraq & Afghanistan.
IEDs that would have been deadly, now only become an annoyance. This one hit a mine, had no deaths, and was driven back to base on three wheels.
And this one hit a massive 300-500lb bomb in Iraq resulting in no deaths. In fact, the crew went out the very next day.
And the turret gunners can still deliver some serious firepower of their own from M240 (7.62mm shown here) or .50 cal machine guns.
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