U.S. MARINE CORPS
A Cougar Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle modified with an independent suspension system is put through its
paces on a test course at the Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland. The Marine Corps plans to modify 1,016 of
the 2,149 Cougars it owns with the new suspension so they can handle the rugged terrain of Afghanistan.
that suspension and off-road capability,” she said.
The average cost of buying and installing the ISS and
obtaining spares is $161,000 per vehicle, “significantly less
than the cost of purchasing a new vehicle,” Yarboro said.
The program currently calls for modifying a total of
1,914 Cougars for all the services, which includes
1,016 of the 2,149 the Marines own, she said.
The retrofit will be made to Cougars already in the
Central Command theater and training vehicles at
bases in the United States and Japan, Yarboro said.
Most of the work in theater is being done at the MRAP
Sustainment Facility in Kuwait, she said, but Systems
Command is exploring possible modification facilities in
Afghanistan in suport of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Some alterations were conducted at the Army’s
Aberdeen Test Center (ATC), Md., where the ISS modification was tested, and at Marine Corps Air Ground
Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., Yarboro
said. From here out, modification of the training vehicles will be done wherever the vehicles are located,
including Marine bases in Hawaii and Japan.
The installations are being performed by field service representatives from Force Protection Inc., which
makes the Cougar, and Oshkosh. They also are supplying the components.
“The program is currently fully funded and building
up to full capacity at both production sites as well as the
installation site,” Yarboro said. “As of July 24, 11 vehicles
have ISS installed in CONUS [continental United States]
and another 15 ISS have been installed in theater.”
When the facility in Kuwait reaches capacity, which
was expected by Aug. 27, it is projected to be able to
modify up to 270 vehicles a month, she said. Under the
current schedule, all 1,484 Cougars now in theater
would have the modifications complete by February.
The first modified Cougar was expected to arrive in
Afghanistan before the end of August, Yarboro said. That
is months earlier than the first M-ATV is expected.
Even while the alterations are proceeding, additional tests of Cougars with the ISS modification are being
conducted at the ATC and Yuma Proving Ground,
Ariz., Yarboro said.
“A Cougar MRAP with the final ISS design has completed over 1,000 miles of automotive testing at
Aberdeen,” she said.
The tests so far have shown that on the Operation
Enduring Freedom-replicated course at ATC “the ISS-equipped Cougar can travel roughly twice the speed of
an unmodified Cougar, with superior off-road mobility,” she said.