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MEB-Afghanistan receives first of new MRAPs

CAMP BASTION, Helmand Province, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan – A new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle featuring upgraded suspension systems arrived here August 17.


August 17, 2009

The upgraded MRAP, known as a Category 1 “Cougar,” features the same independent suspension system used on the newest 7-ton trucks operated by Marine forces.

“This truck offers the Marines survivability and the ability to get anywhere they need to get in Afghanistan,” said Paul D. Mann, the manager for the MRAP Vehicle Program at Marine Corps Systems Command. “It’s our best performing, survivable vehicle.”

The vehicle, which was recently retrofitted with the suspension system, will be used as a training tool for Marines, who will receive more than 200 ISS Cougars throughout the next year.

According to Maj. Trent Bottin, Marine Corps Systems Command liaison officer to Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, this vehicle represents the leading edge of what will be “a complete refit of vehicles for the Marine Corps” in Afghanistan, the vast majority of which will be seen near the end of this year.

Maj. Timothy Cooley, the brigade’s ordnance and maintenance management officer, said the ISS Cougars will offer a much smoother ride and will be better able to handle southern Afghanistan’s rough terrain. The newly-improved Cougars, said Cooley, will offer several benefits to their future Marine users in addition to safety and maneuverability.

“Marines are familiar with this type of vehicle and they already work with the suspension,” he said. “It will also be less maintenance intensive because it’s a proven suspension system.”

Cooley said he hopes to start getting the vehicles out to units within the next month, stating that this will be a “win-win” situation for Marines in the future