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Cougar MRAP Destroyed - But Not Its Crew

| 5 Comments
LAND Cougar 6x6 IEDed EU Referendum
Cougar 6×6, IEDed
(click for article)

Sometimes, a picture really is worth 1,000 words. The crew of this Cougar 6×6 MRAP CAT-II vehicle escaped with only minor injuries and no one was killed, even though the IED land mine blast ripped out the engine and hurled it over 100 yards away. EU Referendum has more pictures from their reader on the scene, along with some criticism of Britain's MoD, in their post 'Imagine this was a "Snatch"' [Land Rover]. Or a WMIK Land Rover variant, which DID has covered. Or, for that matter, a Hummer.

The US military has finally learned this 40 year old lesson, and decided to get serious and ramp up production. Should have happened earlier. Meanwhile, Britain is buying a Cougar variant of its own called the Mastiff, and is also upgrading and buying additional FV430 "Bulldog" tracked armored personnel carriers for its forces.

5 Comments

Joe -

The US military has finally learned this 40 year old lesson, and decided to get serious and ramp up production. Should have happened earlier.

Like I have posted earlier here and other places, anyone who has ever started any kind of assembly line factory up will tell you, it takes time to get one up and running. You have to have a process which implies a tried and tested design, also, you have to build the factory to accomodate that process, you have to start the line and test the first articles for a whole host of attributes, you have to get parts into the pipeline and then you have to "Shoot the engineers and begin production." In the world I have inhabited for the last 10+ years - semiconductor - it takes 12 to 18 months of planning plus 12 to 18 months of building the factory. That is 2 to 3 YEARS before you have first article. It seems to me that the supplier for this vehicle has done a HUGE job getting these out and to the troops as quickly as this.

And I used to work in that evil old Military Industrial Complex and just getting thru the DoD paperwork could take a year. Like I said, I think this is great news but remember these things are not made overnight. It takes time. Seems like the DoD did a bonzer job here. Glad for it.

The Hobo

I don't buy the excuse. At all.

I cover this industry every day, and I watched the orders stall and trickle while people died in Hummers, and the military showed little interest in ramping up or putting the word out to vendors. Then I watched as pressure began from Congress, and some folks in the Marines began to get motivated, and the multi-year Hummer contract was coming to its end so vendors were starting to get interested. But even as of late 2006, the plan was to buy about 1,000 mine-resistant vehicles.

Lo and behold, 9 months later, and we have orders for over 5,500 vehicles in year 1, with a couple thousand due to deliver by end of 2007, another 2,500 orders due next year, and possibly the beginning of a 20,000 vehicle order as well under MRAP-II.

There is no reason - none - that this couldn't have happened in 2005 instead, though the ramp up would have been slightly slower than it has been. The pieces and technologies were in place then. For some folks, like the airborne troops who used RG-31s, it did happen. Why not the rest of the Army? Pure lack of urgency, and failure to react in a manner whose effectiveness had been demonstrated for over 40 years in Africa, during wars against insurgencies whose main weapon was land mines.

A lot of things go wrong in war. A lot of mistakes are made. I have a lot of leeway in me when those things involve the decisions of an enemy who is trying to screw up your plans. I have very little when it's a matter of not knowing your damn job to a professional level. An army that was saying "IEDs" (milspeak to avoid saying "land mines," which are a 600 year old staple of war and might draw questions) were killer #1 in 2004, but takes until 2007 to do the well-known and proven thing in any serious way?

This was not rocket science. Nor was the delay experienced here necessary. Not for military reasons. And not for industrial reasons.

Okay, Joe, then years of work I have done is invalid because you say so. I was just offering an opinion.

At least you did not devolve into the usual, "It's Bush's fault!". I gotta give you that.

I wrote an article in the Marine Corps Gazette in August 2005 talking aobut the need to use off the shelf solutions like the Colt Commando, the French VAB, and any other armored vehicle we could get our hands on. This is a joke; this is WWII technology and for whatever reason we were slaves to the TOE and dragged our feet. This need is really remarkable to me, as if thin-skinned HMMMMWVs ever made sense considering even a future war in Europe would involve mines, small arms fire, etc. I realize there's a trade-off with armor, mobility, and firepower, but since we've used HMMMWvs as ersatz troop carriers at least since Operation Just Cause in '89, the lack of armor was simply a utopian, short-sighted, and unforgiveable design error.

Roach, are you saying to use vehicles that give some protection against HE and small arms and such in the short run, and accept that they're vulnerable to modern anti-armor stuff?

That old armored vehicles that were designed to be armored vehicles are likely to be better than up-armored HMMMWVs?

This isn't an area of expertise for me so I'm not clear what you mean or even if you were joking, or claiming the current situation is a joke, or what.

I get the impression the HMMMWVs are great upscale replacements for jeeps. It's a stretch to use the same design to replace armored cars too.

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