US to Supply Poland with Surplus Cougar Mine-resistant Ambush-protected (MRAP) Vehicles
US to Supply Poland with Surplus Cougar Mine-resistant Ambush-protected (MRAP) Vehicles

US to Supply Poland with Surplus Cougar Mine-resistant Ambush-protected (MRAP) Vehicles

Poland and the United States signed a government-to-government agreement last week for 300 surplus US Cougar 4×4 mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles for the Polish Army. The contract is valued at $27.5 million, including a logistics and training package, with deliveries of all the vehicles scheduled for the first quarter of 2022. The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected would reach the Polish army in 2022 as part of a contract of an undisclosed value that includes logistics and training. They are tested vehicles, used in the US Army for many years and on many foreign missions. Thanks to an accelerated procedure, they will reach in 2022. The contract also covers a logistics and training package. MRAPs are a type of armoured military vehicle with increased mine resistance.

The vehicles the defence minister mentioned are familiar to Polish soldiers who served in Afghanistan. Between the end of 2008 and January 2009, the Polish detachment in Afghanistan received 40 Cougar 4×4 vehicles from the U.S. Marine Corps inventory. The US Marines Corps first ordered Cougars in mid-April 2004, introducing them as HEVs (Hardened Engineer Vehicle), mainly using them to transport bomb disposal squads. Foreign users and US Army got interested in the design and the UK Army procured more than 600 examples in a variety of configurations – 4×4 and 6×6. The Cougars replaced the HMMWV platforms that had been borrowed earlier.

Polish Army Mine-resistant Ambush-protected (MRAP) Vehicles in Afghanistan. (Photo by Polish Ministry of Defence)

The first Cougars were called HEV (hardened engineer vehicle), which became JERRV when the Army joined the program, and then MRAP for political reasons when the requirement for many thousands of units was issued. Some 4,000 of these vehicles were fielded under the US military’s MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) and other vehicle programs. US Defense Secretary demanded that the vehicles be ordered in larger numbers after the Marines reported in 2004 that no troops had died in more than 300 IED attacks on Cougars. Since then, Cougar vehicles have been hit by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) many times in Iraq with few fatalities. Official data states that the Cougar is able to withstand a blast of at least 14 kg TNT (30.86 lb) under a wheel and 7 kg TNT (15.43 lb) under a belly.

The Cougar is a mine-resistant ambush-protected and infantry mobility vehicle structured to be resistant to landmines and improvised munitions. It is a family of armored vehicles produced by Force Protection Inc, which manufactures ballistic and mine-protected vehicles. These vehicles are protected against small arms, land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) using a combination of design features and materials to protect both the crew and engine compartment against a wide range of attacks. A Monocoque type, V-shaped hull extends to the engine bay and serves to direct the blast away from under the vehicle. The dual air-conditioners help keep heavily dressed troops from overheating in temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C) in Iraq.