Monday, February 25, 2008

The wheels of war

First the road testing (the Canadian Army also now has Buffaloes and Cougars in Afstan):
A few weeks later in Charleston, S.C., I drove a hulking Buffalo at the instruction center for another MRAP [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected} manufacturer, Force Protection. A whining turbocharger signaled steady if not brisk acceleration to near the top speed of 60.

Another Force Protection MRAP, the 4-by-4 Cougar, is about 100 inches shorter than the Buffalo. Not surprisingly, when I drove the Cougar, it felt like a sports car by comparison, with quicker acceleration and a tighter turning radius. Still, with its roaring engine and climate-control system, you’d never mistake it for the smaller up-armored Humvee.

As a passenger riding in the back, I expected that the rear troop compartment in these vehicles would be cramped. But with comfortable seats mounted against the walls, each MRAP offered a fair amount of legroom, while the small windows let in ample light. Of course, had I been loaded with a gun, backpack, body armor and survival gear, my ride would have been a little different.
Now the main story:
Big Wheels for Iraq’s Mean Streets


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