The global trend toward mine-resistant vehicles has become unmistakable, and Iraq was the catalyst and proving ground. RG-31s of the US 101st Airborne and Australian Bushmasters were the first examples in Iraq, followed by the M1117 ASVs for American military police, and Cougar and Buffalo vehicles among US Marines et. al. Britain quickly adopted the ‘Mastiff’ Cougar variant for use in Iraq, and in 2007 the US military’s “MRAP” program began surging over 15,000 vehicles of various types into theater. And the Iraqis? Up-armored Hummers were a big upgrade over the Ford commercial pickups some units were using, but by 2006 they knew that they, too, needed a mine-resistant vehicle that could serve as as EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) vehicle, perform patrols in urban areas, and keep their country’s roads clear.
Iraq’s choice featured a familiar vehicle base, but an unfamiliar partnership. Why would BAE Systems bid a Cougar variant, instead of existing BAE products? How has the design evolved since 2006? And what’s the status of production orders and orders so far to Iraq, Yemen, and beyond? Previous discussions, and a new order, shine light on those questions.