Procurement: Buddy, Can You Spare An MRAP?



September 26, 2008: The U.S. is loaning Poland 40 Cougar MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles for use in Afghanistan. These will enable the 1,900 Polish troops there to conduct patrols and convoys more safely, in the face of increasing Taliban use of roadside bombs. Polish troops will receive 30 Cougars next month, and the rest early in 2009.

Cougar is a 12 ton truck that is hardened to survive bombs and mines. The bulletproof 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 1998, and has already been used in the design of vehicles used by peacekeepers in the Balkans. The Cougar comes in two versions. The four wheel one can carry ten passengers, the six wheel one can carry 16. Poland is getting the four wheeled version.

The vehicle uses a capsule design to protect the passengers and key vehicle components mines and roadside bombs. The trucks cost about $730,000 each, fully equipped. The Cougars have proved very popular with the troops. Poland, however, is on a tight budget. They have spent a lot of money upgrading their armed forces, in order to meet NATO standards. Having troops in Afghanistan is not popular back home, and Polish casualties makes the public even more negative. So 40 Cougars on loan helps all around.