Although 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.