United States agrees the supply to Ukraine of 37 Cougar MRAP vehicles

On December 21, 2022, the United States Department of Defense published a new list of military equipment, weapons, and combat vehicles that will be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces including 37 Cougar MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles and 120 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) 4x4 tactical vehicles.
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Cougar MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in 4x4 configuration. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

In total, the United States has now committed more than $21.9 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.

Since 2014, the United States has committed approximately $24 billion in security assistance to Ukraine and approximately $21.2 billion since the beginning of Russia's unprovoked, full-scale invasion on February 24.

The Cougar is a family of MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles that were developed by the American company Force protection, which is now part of General Dynamics Land Systems. It was designed to offer new combat vehicles for U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq offering a high level of protection against mines and IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices).

The MRAP vehicles are providing a significant increase in force protection and enhancing the confidence of soldiers engaging the enemy. In many cases, soldiers have survived attacks that would have completely destroyed other armored vehicles.

In the U.S. armed forces, they are three categories of MRAP vehicles. Category (CAT) I and CAT II vehicles carry six and ten soldiers respectively and supplement missions performed with the up-armored high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle and other combat vehicles. CAT III vehicles are used to support route clearance missions.

United States agrees the supply to Ukraine of 37 Cougar MRAP vehicles 925 002
Cougar MRAP Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle in 6x6 configuration. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The Cougar MRAP which is available in 4x4 and 6x6 configurations are categorized in Category I and II of U.S. MRAP vehicles. The 4x4 version is in Category 1 and is designed to conduct patrols, reconnaissance, communications, and command and control missions.

The design of the Cougar family is standard for a modern combat wheeled armored vehicle with the engine at the front, the crew in the middle, and the troop's compartment at the rear. The 4x4 version of the Cougar has a crew of three including a commander, driver, and gunner and can accommodate up to four military personnel.

The Cougar is based on a monocoque V-shaped chassis mounting bullet-proof and blast-proof body increasing vehicle and crew survivability by deflecting an upward directed blast from a landmine or IEDs away from the vehicle, while also presenting a sloped armor face.

The Cougar 6x6 is part of the Category II of U.S. MRAP vehicles. It can accommodate up to six military personnel. It was designed to be used as APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) or cargo vehicles.

Both versions of the Cougar can be fitted with an open-top turret fitted with armor plates on 360° providing protection against the firing of small arms. The turret can be armed with one 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun.