As of June 2006, there are more than 130 Cougars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The vehicles have taken about 1,000 IED hits without a loss of life….
–from defense-update.com. June 6, 2006
News coverage of the war doesn’t usually say much about the firepower of the Iraq insurgency. As part of a general war update, however, yesterday’s LAT reported that a roadside bomb had destroyed an American armored vehicle outside Ramadi, killing three G.I.’s. The story then went into some detail about the particular vehicle, named the Cougar.
In response to the damage being suffered from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED’s), the military requisitioned a new generation of “rapid response vehicles” over the past few years. Specified by the Marines for the purpose of mine clearing and explosive disposal, $97 million was spent for 122 units. The Navy just invested $50 million for 79 more, and the Pentagon has plans to spend almost a half billion dollars for a thousand for the Iraqis.
The photo above shows this “Mine Protected Armored Patrol Vehicle” or “Cougar.” The image below shows a Cougar that encountered an Iraqi mine in April 2006. Despite the damage, the crew suffered only minor injuries.
I couldn’t find an image of the Cougar operated by the 1st Armored Division that got hit this weekend. What the news points out, however, is that despite our overwhelming superiority in technology, hardware and weaponry, the enemy seems more than able to compensate.
(image 1: defense-update.com. image 2: Sgt Chris Clair, USMC via defense-update.com)