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New Cougar HEV to hit Corps soon
by Cpl. Shawn Vincent
Marine Corps News
September 15, 2004

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va -- A new vehicle that was recently used in Operation Iraqi Freedom II will soon be distributed throughout the Marine Corps this month.

The Cougar Hardened Engineer Vehicle, a versatile, multi-purpose vehicle, can be configured to complete a wide variety of mission requirements. The new HEV can serve as a mine-proof troop transport vehicle, a law enforcement special response vehicle, a weapons platform, or an escort protection vehicle. Fourteen will be shipped to various bases throughout September.

The user-friendly vehicle is designed to protect both the driver and crew from ballistic and mine-blast threats. The four-wheel drive edition seats four passengers, and the six-wheel drive edition seats 10 passengers.

"Currently, combat engineers and explosive ordinance disposal [personnel] lack the adequate organic battlefield transportation capability and protection to conduct independent missions," said Joseph B. Murgo, team leader, engineer support equipment/counter-IED systems, Marine Corps Systems Command. "Now EOD and engineers will be able to maneuver with speed, mobility and survivability equal with the ground maneuver forces within the Marine Air Ground Task Force."

Murgo said the Cougar HEV has an armored capsule designed to protect personnel, the engine and transmission from both ballistic and mine-blast threats.

"The Cougar will 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," he said.

Murgo said Technical Solutions Group Inc. is currently manufacturing the Cougar HEV for allied nations while also manufacturing a larger HEV called the Buffalo, for the U.S. Army in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Because OIF II and contingency operations in the Global War On Terrorism have created an immediate mission essential requirement for the Cougar HEV, I Marine Expeditionary Force initiated an urgent Universal Need Statement in December 2003, to purchase 27 HEVs.

"The rapid procurement and fielding of the HEV is indicative of MCSC's responsiveness to the needs of the MAGTF and the individual warfighter," said Maj. Robert C. Crum, public affairs officer, MCSC.

Murgo said the severity of unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices to operating forces and mine clearing teams has resulted in the loss of many lives.

"Many Marine Corps operating forces require adequate HEVs to negate these hazardous conditions and their effects," Murgo said.

Murgo said the Cougar has ballistic protection for the radiator, fuel tanks, battery compartments; and is equipped with weapons ports, M240G mount, engineer/EOD tool storage, two spare tires, and a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical overpressure and filter system.


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