The military has a vocabulary all its own: All those the ribbons found on the breast of a military uniform? It’s called a Salad Bar. A pill pusher? That’s a Navy term for a hospital corpsman. In the Marines, a flashlight is a moonbeam, and going to sleep is called “racking out.”
To our knowledge, a “platform” is any structure, vehicle or mechanism on which a weapon can be installed, and in the UK Army, one of these “platforms” is the Ridgeback. It was an “up-armoured version”of the United States army Cougar “platform,” a mine-resistant patrol vehicle that included a heavy machine gun, a 7.62mm general purpose machine gun, a grenade launcher, and in some of vehicles, a remote weapons systems that allow Ridgeback weapons to be operated from inside the vehicle using a camera and a joystick.
Because we know that some of our readers are interested in such details, here’s a bit more: The Ridgeback is powered by a Caterpillar C-7 diesel engine that can give 330hp at 2,400rpm and a torque of 860 ft pound force at 1,450 rpm with an operational range of 420 miles. Its transmission is an Allison 3500 SP series, and the front and rear axles are Marmon-Herrington MT-17 and R-17, respectively, that have been modified for harsh terrain. The vehicle weighs around 38,000 pounds with a payload of 6,000 pounds, and as such uses air brakes for to stop effectively. The Ridgeback was used United Kingdom forces in Afghanistan and Iraq back in 2009.
Got all that?
We may never know why the Army named this vehicle for a dog breed, but we can guess. The canine Ridgeback is a superb hunter bred to pursue lions. The motorized version also goes into dangerous situations. The Ridgeback dog comes only in one color, wheaten. The Army vehicle comes in any color as long as it’s a brownish yellow color called khaki. But the number one reason the vehicle may have been named the Ridgeback is because it was Rhodesians who pioneered vehicle mine-proofing during the Rhodesian war for independence.
Image: Young Rhodesian Ridgeback from Deposit Stock photo, the Ridgeback vehicle found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information