The turn of the century provided military industry with new battlefields that strayed away from conventional warfare. As such, manufacturers responded by aligning product offerings with the changing times to which Thales of Australia developed their "Bushmaster" series of Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMVs) to service infantry through an agile, robust platform capable of quick response and limited protection. Introduced in 1998, the series has gone on to be adopted by the forces of Australian, the Netherlands and others and has seen combat action in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere - proving its design sound. At the time of its inception, the Bushmaster marked the first military armored vehicle to be designed, developed and produced entirely in Australian since World War 2 (1939-1945).
At its core the Bushmaster features a fully-suspended, all-wheel drive design with high clearance promoting strong off-road capabilities. The system weighs 33,000 lb and sports an overall length of 7.1 meters, a width of 2.5 meters and a height of 2.7 meters. The standard operating crew is one with room for up to nine passengers who are protected from mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) (to an extent), small arms fire and artillery spray. The V-shaped hull is used to help deflect blasts coming from under the vehicle.
Power for the series is served through the Caterpillar 3126E 7.2L six-cylinder diesel-fueled engine fitting at front. This installation outputs 330 horsepower at 2,200rpm and is mated to a ZF 6HP502 ECOMAT G2 series transmission system. Maximum road speeds reach 100 kmh with ranges out to 800 kilometers.
As main armament, the Bushmaster is typically fitted with a heavy weapon system over the roof (this can also be a remote-controlled weapon station). Two other swing mounts are available for smaller-caliber weapons.
One of its key tactical features of the Bushmaster is its ability to be air-transported by Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" aircraft or similar.
As with any military vehicle of this class, the Bushmaster is not one single-role vehicle but a series of vehicles based on a standardized design. This is done as a cost-effective measure in having single model serve as the basis for others to cover multiple battlefield roles. As such, variants of the Bushmaster line include a dedicated Command Vehicle (CV), Air Defence Vehicle (ADV) and an Armored Ambulance (among others) - this showcases the flexibility of the Bushmaster vehicle which is also in service in civilian-minded forms.
The Australian Army originally placed an order for 370 of the type but this was eventually reduced to 299 units which arrived in 2005. However, more vehicle orders followed to bring the Australian inventory over 1,000. Australian Bushmasters were first featured (in prototype form) in East Timor actions before being deployed in Iraq. Then followed service in Afghanistan.
Netherlands is currently the second largest operator of the Bushmaster series, having acquired over 100 vehicles for service with Dutch Marines and Army personnel. The British Army procured two dozen systems in 2008 while Jamaica has taken on a dozen. Japan and Indonesia have ordered four and three vehicles respectively. There are potential sales reported to Libya and Spain while United Arab Emirates has evaluated the product.
The Bushmaster failed in its bid to join the American Army inventory as an MRAP in 2007 and was pulled from competing in a Canadian program. The French Army adopted a local solution over the Australian product.
Manufacturing Thales Australia (ADI Limited) - Australia
Production 1,072 Units
Australia; Indonesia; Jamaica; Japan; Netherlands; United Kingdom
- Infantry Support
- Mine Protection / Enhanced Survivability
- Reconnaissance (RECCE)
- Support / Special Purpose |
23.62 ft (7.2 m)
8.20 ft (2.5 m)
8.53 ft (2.6 m)
14 tons (12,500 kg; 27,558 lb)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Thales Bushmaster production model)
1 x Caterpillar 3126E 6-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine developing 330 horsepower at 2,200 rpm.
(Showcased powerplant information pertains to the Thales Bushmaster production model)
62 mph (100 kph)
497 miles (800 km)
(Showcased performance values pertain to the Thales Bushmaster production model; Compare this entry against any other in our database)
Variable: Typically 1 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) on roof (turret ring). Alternatively a 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (MMG) is mounted instead. Personal weapons taken on by the crew or passengers also provide point defense.
Ammunition: Dependent upon armament fit.
(Showcased armament details pertain to the Thales Bushmaster production model)
Bushmaster - Base Series Name
Bushmaster APC - Standard troop carrier
Bushmaster COM - Specialized COMmand vehicle
Buasmaster AP - "Assault Pioneer" form
Bushmaster AD - Air Defense version
Bushmaster MOR - MORtar carrier
Bushmaster DFW - "Direct Fire Weapons" variant
Bushmaster AMB - Battlefield AMBulance variant
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