The MOD ordered 157 Cougar 4x4s from Force Protection Incorporated in America (The company was acquired by General Dynamics in 2011), as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) back in 2008. Having arrived in the UK, the Cougar base vehicles are upgraded and morph into the Ridgback Protected Patrol Vehicle.
The British Army Ridgback 4×4 PPV upgrades
Integrated additional protection, weapons, communications systems and specialist electronic counter-measures equipment. NP Aerospace in Coventry (now part of Morgan Advanced Materials – Composites and Defence Systems) integrated the upgrades to the Cougar as part of an £81 million deal. The first Cougars arrived in the UK in 2008 and deployed to Afghanistan as Ridgeback in 2009.
About The British Army Ridgback 4×4 PPV
The British Army Ridgback 4×4 PPV offers high protection, similar to the Mastiff (British Army version of the Cougar 6×6), but in a smaller vehicle. It provides greater protected accessibility in urban environments, whilst Mastiff continues to operate in the urban fringe and rural environments.
The Ridgback is produced in four variants for different roles – a troop carrier, a protected weapons station and an ambulance or command post vehicle. The vehicle is powered by a 330hp Caterpillar C-7 diesel engine. It can be fitted with various weapons in a roof cupola, such as 7.62mm GPMG, 40mm Grenade Launcher and .50cal MG as well Remote Weapon Systems.
The vehicle was operated during the War in Afghanistan (2001–14) where it formed part of the 600+ fleet of Protected Patrol Vehicles the British Army now owns. It will remain in British Army service for the foreseeable future.