Armor: Cougars Cousin Badger Arrives in Baghdad


p> April 15, 2007: The Iraqi army has received its first batch of 40 Badger Armored Vehicles. There is some confusion over what the Badger is. It's basically a variant of the popular Cougar armored truck, widely used by bomb disposal teams. The Iraq army is buying 378 Badger armored trucks. Originally called the Iraqi Light Armored Vehicles (ILAV), the Badgers will cost about $432,000 each. The ILAV is based on the four wheel Cougar, which can carry ten passengers.  If the Badger proves popular, the contract makes provision for a total of 1,050 vehicles to be delivered by 2009.


The Cougar was built to deal with mines and roadside bombs, and the U.S. Department of Defense has bought over 300 of them in the last four years. The manufacturer had to take on General Dynamics as a partner in order to meet the flood of orders from  military, and civilian organizations for Cougar, and related, vehicles.The Cougar armored vehicles are basically 12 ton trucks with armor added so that it can survive bombs, mines, and bullets. The Cougars are built using the same construction techniques pioneered by South African firms that have, over the years, delivered over 14,000 landmine resistant vehicles to the South African armed forces. The South African technology was imported into the U.S. in the 1990s. The Cougar was first used , by U.S. troops in the late 1990s, in the Balkans, and comes in two versions. The four wheel one can carry ten passengers, while the six wheel one can carry 16. The vehicle uses a capsule design to protect the passengers and key vehicle components from mines and roadside bombs. Cougars cost about $730,000 each, fully equipped. The Cougars are about the same weight of the usual wheeled armored vehicles, but cost less than half as much. Cougars provide similar carrying capacity and protection.