Protective vehicles already made here

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 27, 2005

Dear Editor,

I read your column by Col. Jim Hampton (“More protection forsoldiers needed, deserved,” May 11) with perhaps more than thenormal level of passing interest.

I am ex-British army, have been involved in mine-protectedvehicles for almost 15 years and am presently a vice president forForce Protection Inc., a company in South Carolina that actuallymakes MPVs. We have two vehicles in service today with the Army andMarine Corps called the Buffalo and Cougar, respectively. Both aretough, practical armored vehicles intended to protect againstmines, IEDs and bullets.

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Although based upon earlier developments in mine protectiontechnology in South Africa and elsewhere, the Cougar in particularis a home-grown product. I can vouch for this, as I led thedevelopment program for the vehicle.

It is a source of some disappointment that whenever this topicis discussed in the press or other public forums, little mention ismade of the face that there really is a modern, effective andfielded solution to the problem of mine and IEDs that is made inthe States using first-rate U.S. automotives and componentry.Instead, we are referred to older technology from overseas and ledto believe that the Department of Defense has put its head in thesand for the last 20 or so years.

Perhaps too many people here in the States have inherited theBritish habit of talking down their abilities and country. TheForce Protection vehicles are being built in the States and are outthere doing a good job alongside the ASV and others. Why not talkabout a success story for a change?

Murray Hammick,

via e-mail