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Mastiff (Cougar variant)



Service history
Used by United States Armed Forces, Iraqi Army, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canadian Forces
Wars Iraq War
       
Mastiff Armoured VehicleProduction history
Manufacturer Force Protection Industries
Variants Cougar HE
Specifications
Weight 14.5 t (32,000 lb) (curb)
17.2 t (38,000 lb) (gross)
Length 5.91 m (19.41 ft)
Width 2.74 m (9.0 ft)
Height 2.64 m (8.67 ft)
Crew 2+4
Armour 7.62 x 51mm NATO ball standard
All wheels and centerline mine protected
Primary armament remote weapon station (optional)
Engine Caterpillar C-7 Diesel 243 KW (330 HP)
Payload capacity 2.72 t (6,000 lb)
Transmission Allison 3500SP
Suspension 4×4 wheeled
Ground clearance 410 mm (15 in)
Operational range 966 km (600 mi) Speed 105 km/h (65 mph)



"Its protection is phenomenal. It's one of the most secure vehicles I have seen. We were attacked by a sniper and also an improvised explosive device. It ripped off the exhaust but everyone inside was okay." Lance Corporal Richard Murphy

Mastiff is a heavily armoured, 6 x 6 wheel-drive patrol vehicle which carries six people, plus two crew. It suitable for road patrols and convoys and is the newest delivery in a range of protected patrol vehicles being used for operations. The vehicles, derived from Cougars used by the American Marines, are six-wheeled mine-protected vehicles which have had around 50 modifications. As well as carrying infantry troops around danger zones with much more protection, they are also used by Royal Engineers and Bomb Disposal Teams.

Incorporating the highest levels of survivability, including such features as a V-shaped steel hull, run-flat tyres, shock-mounted seating, and internal spall liners, the blast and ballistic-protective Cougars on which it is based have recently withstood thousands of blast attacks during more than 100,000 days of service in heavy combat conditions.

Mastiff is just one of a whole range of protected vehicles being used on operations including Challenger 2, Viking, Bulldog, Warrior, Vector and Snatch. The first Mastiff vehicles arrived in Iraq in December 2006.

These wheeled patrol vehicles have a less intimidating profile than tracked vehicles and give commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan more options to deal with the threats they are facing. They have Bowman radios and electronic countermeasures, and are fitted with additional armour beyond the standard level to ensure they have the best possible protection.

With a maximum speed of 90 kph Mastiff can be armed with a 7.62 general purpose machine gun, 50 mm canon or 40 mm automatic grenade launcher.


Soldiers give Mastiff the thumbs-up
More Mastiff vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan
More Mastiffs for the UK
Cougar
Cougar Variants
Cougar Operators
See also


Soldiers give Mastiff the thumbs-up
An Equipment and Logistics news article 2007 06 21

A group of soldiers who have recently completed a six month tour of duty in Iraq have given the thumbs up to the Army's newest protected patrol vehicle, the Mastiff. The vehicles, derived from Cougars used by the American Marines, are six-wheeled mine-protected vehicles which have had around 50 modifications. As well as carrying infantry troops around danger zones with much more protection, they are also used by Royal Engineers and Bomb Disposal Teams: "For something off-the-shelf and added to, it's excellent. It gives good protection and good fire power," said Captain Clive Phillips from 7 Transport Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps based at Bielefeld in North West Germany.

Captain Phillips volunteered to head up the special team, drawn from personnel in his unit, to undertake search operations and convoy escorts in and out of Basra City, Az Zubayr and Al Querna: "It's not the answer to every prayer," he continued. "Other vehicles fit into a fleet but it's a good addition. People have confidence in it. It's equipped with a general purpose machine gun, and even a 50-millimetre heavy machine gun. And it can be fitted with a 40-millimetre grenade launcher which can throw grenades over large distances. My guys were superb, they took the vehicle to their hearts. They took time to learn about them and helped to develop them. When we had it they looked after it and the infantry could rely on them to get them where they wanted when they wanted. In all we had three battlegroups we helped to train to use the vehicle. We had to bring the new units up to scratch. As an experience it was a real eye-opener," he added.

The soldiers underwent intensive training which culminated in three weeks in Cyprus where they practised all their drills. Having received the first vehicles in December 2006 while attached to 40 Regiment Royal Artillery in Iraq, it was not until 1 March 2007 that the first patrols were deployed on to the streets of Basra. The soldiers' training and experiences with these vehicles has played a key part in the development of later models by feeding back their suggestions and advice through their Brigade to the project team.

Private Rob Stewart, who was on his first operation, said: "It's one of the best bits of kit that I've had. Its protection is second to none. Its safety means that the infantry can do a better job and they can concentrate on their task. We were involved in helping with counter explosive device work, strike operations and transporting people including the local police."




More Mastiff vehicles for Iraq and Afghanistan
An Equipment and Logistics news article 2007 10 09

140 additional Mastiff vehicles are to be bought by the MOD to enhance the mobility and protection afforded to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gordon Brown announced yesterday, Monday 8 October 2007. The MOD intends to finalise the deal for this additional number of battle-proven and highly popular vehicles in the next few weeks.

Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne said: "Mastiff has proved its value on operations offering high levels of protection against mines and roadside bombs. Today I am pleased to announce our intention to purchase 140 extra Mastiffs. It's my job to make sure we are delivering the best equipment we can for our Armed Forces. The extra Mastiffs will give us a real increase in capability for our troops."

Mastiff is the UK variant of US Force Protection Inc's Cougar vehicle. NP Aerospace in Coventry integrate and uparmour the Cougars to create the finished Mastiff vehicle. Discussions are currently underway with the US Government to agree the export of the extra vehicles from Force Protection Inc. 

Mastiff is just one of a whole range of protected vehicles being used on operations including Challenger 2, Viking, Bulldog, Warrior, Vector and Snatch. The first Mastiff vehicles arrived in Iraq in December 2006.

These wheeled patrol vehicles have a less intimidating profile than tracked vehicles and give commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan more options to deal with the threats they are facing. They have Bowman radios and electronic countermeasures, and are fitted with additional armour beyond the standard level to ensure they have the best possible protection.
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More Mastiffs for the UK
Defense Industry daily 2007 12 18

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced on Oct 8/07 that Britain will buy another 140 (170?) blast-resistant Mastiff vehicles for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MoD intends to finalize the deal for this additional set vehicles “in the next few weeks,” and has set aside GBP 100 million (about $200 million) for this purpose. This order would bring the total number of Mastiffs ordered to 248, with additional buys of blast-resistant vehicles scheduled via Britian’s MPPV program.

Mastiffs are derived from Force Protection’s popular Cougar blast-resistant vehicles, which serve with the US military. Variants of the Cougar also serve with or have been ordered for the militaries of Iraq (ILAV ‘Badger’), Canada (reportedly similar to the ‘Mastiff’ design), and Yemen (ILAV). For British Mastiff orders, NP Aerospace in Coventry integrates and up-armors delivered Cougars to create the finished Mastiff vehicle.

Richard North links to the Parliamentary debate that followed, and offers an interesting observation that tracks with parallel experiences in the USA:

Returning to the issue of funding, followers of this blog will know that the original order for Mastiffs was imposed over the heads of the Army brass. They were totally opposed to buying in equipment for what they saw was a short-term need, in case it prejudiced funding for their “future army” plans, and in particular, FRES. Then, it was only on the understanding that the purchase was funded through an Urgent Operational Requirement – and thus paid-for by the Treasury – that they were prepared to accept the vehicles.

That the Army is now prepared to fund the new batch itself thus reflects a new realism that current operations must be properly equipped  with dedicated rather than general-purpose kit – and that the funding must come from the mainstream equipment budget.

This in turn represents a hard battle fought and won within the defence establishment about the relative importance of the future army and a reigning-in of the “futuritis” which afflicts defence planning…. But the strange thing is that, for all the fluff, indignation and politicking that we saw in yesterday’s debate, barely a single MP in the House even realised that the battle had been fought, much less won. The MPs are not so much “above the debate” as unaware even that it is happening.”


Updates: Dec 17/07: The US DSCA announces [PDF] a UK request for up to 170 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category II vehicles, tools and test equipment, maintenance support, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, support equipment, spare and repair parts, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $147 million.

The principal contractor will be: Force Protection Industries, Inc., of Ladson, South Carolina. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. The proposed sale requires the continued support of seven Field Service Representatives (FSR), currently providing in theater maintenance support for the existing Mastiff vehicles, for the additional vehicles for a period of one year.”



Cougar

The Cougar is an armored fighting vehicle designed to be resistant to anti-vehicle mines and improvised munitions.

The Cougar is a family of armored vehicles produced by Force Protection Inc, which manufactures ballistic and mine-protected vehicles. The automotives are integrated by Spartan Motors. These specialty vehicles are protected against small arms, land mines and IEDs using a combination of design features and materials to protect both the crew and engine compartment against a wide range of attacks. 4000 of these vehicles will have been fielded under the US military's MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) and other vehicle programs. Cougars have been hit by IEDs many times in Iraq with few fatalities.


Cougar Variants

The Cougar comes in two configurations, a 4×4 and 6×6. It is designed for the transport and protection of military engineers, especially against smaller ballistic explosives such as rocket propelled grenades, as well as IEDs.

Cougar HEV (Hardened engineer vehicle) 
4x4 and 6x6 vehicles ordered in 2004 by the USMC. (The Tempest MPV (Mine Protected Vehicle) was not a British version of the Cougar; it was an earlier vehicle based upon a South African design.)
   
Badger ILAV (Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle) 
Based on the Cougar and manufactured by FPII and BAE Systems for the New Iraqi Army.
   
Cougar JERRV (Joint EOD rapid response vehicle) 
4x4 and 6x6 variants for the US Army and USMC. Approx 200 ordered in 2005 and 2006, with another 200 ordered in late 2006 but now called MRAPs to take account of the new US military/political initiative to be seen to be responding to public concerns about casualties.
   
Mastiff PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle) 
British version of the Cougar, with FPII providing the base vehicle and NP Aerospace in the UK integrating electronics and the British armor package.
   
MRAP 
Several thousand vehicles of 4x4 and 6x6 configuration for all of the US Armed Forces, though mostly for the USMC. Over 3500 MRAPS will be delivered by the end of 2008.

Cougars have been sold with minor modifications from the US versions to the Canadians, Italians and other armies.


Cougar Operators

Iraq 1050 for delivery by November 2008.
Mexico
Canada for Canadian Forces
United Kingdom - 248 on order
United States
Blackwater USA
US Army
US Navy
US Marine Corps

The Cougar is used by the United States Armed Forces and Iraqi Army and has now entered service with the British Army. In service with those countries, the Cougar is used in a variety of roles, including the HEV (Hardened Engineer Vehicle) and the Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRVs) while in service with the US Marine Corps and US Navy Seabees.

The British Forces variant will, compared to the original Cougar vehicle, be fitted with large, vertical armor plates which cover the large vision blocks and weapon firing ports. This is in line with British Army doctrine concerning the role of the APC/MICV, specifically that it is to carry troops under protection to the objective and then give firepower support when they have disembarked. The Mastiff will be fitted with a turret sporting either a L7A2 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) - the FN MAG 7.62 x 51 mm, L110A1 Light Machine Gun 5.56 x 45 mm or a L11A1 Heavy Machine Gun .50 inch (12.7 mm) BMG (Browning Machine gun), 40mm automatic grenade launchers, or even a 50mm cannon. One aspect of the British Army's approach to APC/MICV units (which differs to that of the United States) is that ability of the average soldier to fire accurately out of the ports of a moving IFV has been questioned. The large armour plates will also give added side protection from RPGs or IED explosions.

The British Army has operated an early version of the Cougar since 2002 in the form of the Tempest MPV. As of August 2006, the British Army has ordered 86 extra Cougar HE 6x6 vehicles for deployment in Iraq, and they are known as Mastiff PPV (Protected Patrol Vehicle). It is conceivable that further orders may follow in the future if the vehicle performs adequately, perhaps replacing the older Saxon armoured trucks (some of which are being redesigned as armoured battlefield ambulances) until the introduction of FRES. Deliveries began in February 2007, and an order for 22 further vehicles was placed in March, bringing the total to 108. In October 2007 Gordon Brown announced a further 140 were being ordered to protect troops in Iraq from mines and roadside bombs.

BAE RG-33Britain's "Specialist and Utility Vehicles (SUV)" Integrated Project Team is currently seeking tenders for about 180 "Medium Protected Patrol Vehicles" for "a wide range of patrol tasks" under solicitation EDA-1064.

The MPPVs will be wheeled vehicles with a gross weight fully loaded of around 14 tonnes (about 36,000 pounds), offering "very high levels of protection against a number of known and emerging threats of a varied nature including Ballistic, Blast, Mine and Fragmentation" and "a degree of cross country mobility" despite being slated mostly for road and rough track use. Delivery into service is expected in early 2009, at an estimated cost of GBP 20-100 million. The two favorite contenders seem to be the Cougar and the BAE RG-33.

Canada will take delivery of the Cougar within two months and will be employed in Afghanistan.


See also
Army unveils all-terrain 'Pitbull
Snatch Land Rover 
Vector Pinzgauer
Bulldog
Warrior

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