Buffalo roam the battlefield

Washington Times:

When U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Kempke returns to Iraq to find and destroy land mines and improvised explosive devices, he'll be supported by a growing fleet of new armored vehicles such as the Buffalo and the Cougar.
He's already seen them in action.
"I saw the Buffalo going down Iraq's Highway 1, which is normally where IEDs are planted," said Sgt. Kempke, who has been training soldiers for bomb-disposal work at Camp Dawson, W.Va., since returning from Iraq last year. "That giant armored beast is no doubt saving lives."
Indeed, what has been referred to as a "Humvee on steroids," the Buffalo is a 24-ton mine-protective, countermine/IED vehicle with a long grappling arm that faces down bombs, removes them and withstands terrific blasts without harm to its passengers.
"It's done so perhaps thousands of times," said Mike Aldrich, vice president of sales and marketing for Ladson, S.C.-based Force Protection Inc., which manufactures the big Buffalo and its little brother, the 13- to 19-ton (depending on its individual configuration) Cougar. "We've only had one broken wrist in two years."
Force Protection is under a $91 million contract to build its mine-protected vehicles for the Defense Department. About 100 Buffalos and Cougars are already overseas. That number is slated to double by February 2006.

Update: Go here for a view of the Buffalo.


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