One of the cooler looking alt-vehicle modes for a Decepticon in the new Transformers movie is a baddie by the name of Bonecrusher. Boney's vehicular disguise is a Buffalo H mine-protection vehicle, designed by the folks over at Force Protection, Inc. to sift through the dirt and rubble to find little explosive devices and let them detonate safely on the bad-mutha-trucka's super-reinforced skin. Obviously, these things are selling like hotcakes to the US Armed Forces, but the company also has a contract with the Army for a smaller version of the vehicle designed for troop transport — it's called the "Cougar." The Cougar is is a family of mid-sized mine-protected vehicles coming in either a 4X4 or 6X6 layout. The tank-sans-turret can be configured for a wide range of tasks including troop transport (up to 12 in the 6X6), command and control, mover of artillery, recovery and even ambulance duty. So not only is this one tough HumVee cruncher, a company here in my home state o' Michigan, Spartan Chassis Inc. said today it's been awarded a $23.7 million contract to supply parts to build this hunk-a, hunk-a metal and armor. No word yet on which company's been awarded the highly prized contract for turning it into a walking and talking transforming robot — but we're hopeful it happens soon. Gallery below of both the Buffalo, the vehicular mode for Bonecrusher, as well as the Cougar.
Spartan Chassis to build parts for Cougar military vehicles [Detroit News]
When A HummVee Just Won't Cut It: The Armet Gurkha [internal]