More military transformation

$45.7M for 122 Cougar Armored Trucks

cougarhev.jpgAlthough not as “cool” as Stryker LAVs, new assault weapons, and advanced stealth fighters, here is another example of the military transforming to face the threats it encounters on the 21st century battlefield:

The Cougar H series is a family of medium-sized blast-protected vehicles and is produced in both 4 (Cougar H) and 6 wheel (Cougar HE) layouts. It is substantially larger than a HMMWV, with heavier armor and features designed specifically to help it survive mine blasts. It is designed to withstand a 30-pound blast of TNT to either the front or rear axles as well as a 15-pound blast to the center portion of the vehicle. The Cougar also has ballistic protection for the radiator, fuel tanks, and battery compartments. It is equipped with weapons ports, a M-240G machine gun mount, engineer/ Explosive Ordinance Disposal tool storage, two spare tires, and a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical overpressure and filter system.

The Cougar can be customized for multiple tasks including troop transport, mine and explosive ordnance disposal, command and control, reconnaissance and as a lead convoy vehicle. While the Cougar has been deployed with the Marines since last fall, this order marks the first time that the other services will receive the armored vehicle.

While all sorts of futuristic advances are being dreamed up and developed to help the military cope with the evolving world, there’s no substitute for experience. And experience tells us we need things like the Cougar armored truck today and we will need them for the foreseeable future. Transformation takes many, um, forms.


  1. One more step towards the ‘grail’ of lighter, faster, and more modern. Though there’s no question we need to design all our light vehicles to be more IED and mine resistent. Wait a minute! Isn’t there some convention or ban on use of mines? I guess the bad guys didn’t get that memo! LOL! Undoubtedly the military needs to respond to emerging and/or future threats better than it has in the past. In fact; I think they’re much more committed to it and effective at it than in all the decades up through the 80s. However, in the rush to lighten up, transform, and downsize…….I think there’s a good chance we’re going to be too small and not heavy or sustainable enough for the Chinese war later this century. The rationale, ‘there is no conventional threat large enough on the horizen’ to continue to support our heavy legacy forces, or to modernize them is just wishful thinking. The threat is there, it is easily seen; we just choose to blind ourselves to it in our rush to do business with it. Yea, yea, I know; the lighter, ultramodern, more lethal, computerised forces we’re developing are supposed to be ‘so’ much more synergised (is that a REAL word?), and that we’ll be making decisions on mondo realtime intel so quickly we’ll be way inside ‘their’ decision making cycle we’ll run over the top of them. I can’t help the nagging suspicion those could be just famous last words though. I only hope we get a chance to thoughly test drive, and work the bugs out of, all the new war fighting theory, technology, and lighter more tranportable forces BEFORE the big game.

  2. We didn’t sign that anti-mine treaty – it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. The article did not really specify how the Army and Marines plan to use this thing. If it replaces HMMWVs and 2.5-ton trucks – fine. If this is supposed to replace APCs or tanks – bad. We are going too light. It does not get reported in the news but the National Guard is rapidly losing its armored combat strength. Production of M-1 tanks is complete and the line has been shut down. There is nothing on the drawing board to replace it. Anyone who thinks that the Army and Air Force cooperate well enough that tanks are not needed is delusional. Many National Guard Armor units still have the original M-1’s, which are quite obsolete. The M1A1’s and M1A2’s, which were supposed to replace them, are getting chewed up in Iraq right now. The M-1 upgrade program is also going nowhere due to budget constraints. Instead, some of these units will be converted to other specialties and the tanks scrapped (or stored in their current worthless condition). Flanker is right – when the big show starts with China and/or Korea it will be all hands on deck including National Guard combat units, and we will not have sufficient armor. All the B.S. Military Police and HMMWV units being created will be worthless. Everyone will look around and wonder, ‘where did all our armor go’? Just like I was wondering where the 3rd Armor Division was two years ago.

  3. Even with the closure of its sister installation at Detroit, the Lima Army Tank Plant in Ohio can still churn out 120 tanks maximum per month. That means the replacement rate is equal to an Battalion of Armor every 12 days or so. Qualitative superiority means this far exceeds whatever the Combloc nations can churn out. The big issue is the legacy technologies involved in building the M1 series is old, old, old. The AGT 1500 powerplant is 1960s technology and hasn’t been in production since 1992. The 120mm Rheinmetal smoothbore is reaching the limits of its potential. It’s not like the Russian/Chinese defence industries haven’t been working on countermeasures for decades now. Were it to come to a serious slugfest with a major land power, I have no doubt the United States would do what it has historically done in the past: (1) Take a few hits; (2) Ramp up its economic might; (3) Recruit the not insignificant well-educated and highly motivated population to turn the tide. It is a foregone conclusion that (1) will happen in a contest with a major land power on its home turf. There is not much question of (2) because it happened in the wake of 9/11 as we prepped for Afghanistan; the question is whether that can be duplicated on a greater scale. The big concern is (3) and it goes deep. The aftermath of Vietnam is that American society has become fragmented and prone to becoming self-defeating. Class divisions and lack of respect for society have become so ingrained that there may not be enough volunteers to fight for even national survival. In the First World War, 1/20th of all serving artillery officers were Yale Graduates. In the Second World War, over 200 Princeton students volunteered to fight. Since 1986, less than a dozen Yale students have served in the military, and even less Princeton students have chosen national service. The spectacle became such that in 1992 a draft-dodger was elected President, and re-elected in 1996. In this day and age both the Army and Marines have missed their recruiting goals in the midst of the War on Terror – a War for America’s national survival. The question is not whether or not we will have enough tanks in the fight, but whether we will have the crews to actually man them. And that in itself speaks volumes about how far this nation has fallen.

  4. I hope you are right about the production line at Lima. Once a complicated production line is shut down, it is often costly and time consuming to re-start.