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Old 08-15-2008, 01:14 AM
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Thumbs up US Antonov delivers first Ridgbacks to Brize

MOD Report
An Equipment and Logistics news article
14 Aug 08

The first customised Cougar 4x4 vehicles arrived at RAF Brize Norton this week, a month ahead of schedule, where the process of turning them into the new Ridgback protecte vehicle will begin.
Arriving on a giant US Antonov aircraft, the five Cougars rolled off the back of the transporter aircraft taking a step closer to being ready for use in Afghanistan. Once fully uparmoured and weaponised the Ridgback will join its bigger brother, the Mastiff, as the new protected vehicle on operations.

The MOD has ordered 157 customised Cougar 4x4 from the American company Force Protection Inc. as an urgent operational requirement (UOR). The UK will integrate additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment onto the Cougar base vehicles in order to create the Ridgback vehicle.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said:
"Mastiff has been a huge success, well liked by troops on patrol, offering high levels of protection against mines and roadside bombs and it has saved our soldiers lives on many occasions. As a smaller version of the Cougar 6x6 vehicle which underpins Mastiff, the Cougar 4x4 was the natural choice to become the Ridgback protected vehicle.
"Ridgback will give our troops a further boost continuing the significant improvements we have made to the protection of our forces in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The Mastiff is also manufactured by FPI and is based upon their Cougar 6x6 vehicle. In sharing the same basic platform and major components, Ridgback will benefit from the established support and training regimes already in place and proven for Mastiff.
The use of the Cougar 4x4 vehicle for Ridgback is specifically intended to provide greater protected accessibility in urban environments whilst Mastiff continues to operate in the urban fringe and rural environment.
The Prime Minister announced to Parliament in December 2007 plans to buy 150 additional specialist protected vehicles called Ridgback. Over £150 million of funding has been allocated for the Ridgback with sufficient numbers procured to allow comprehensive pre-deployment training.
The Ridgback's weapons will include: Self-defence systems. A mixture of: 7.62 Heavy Machine Gun; General Purpose Machine Gun; Grenade Machine Gun mounted. Some will also be fitted with a remote weapons systems which will allow the user to operate the Ridgback’s weapons using a camera and joystick from inside the vehicle.

The first five of 157 Vehicles
Pictures S.Lympany]
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