Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle: Wikis

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Bushmaster
A Dutch Bushmaster fitted with a remote weapons station in 2008
A Dutch Bushmaster fitted with a remote weapons station in 2008
Type MRAP Cat. II
Place of origin  Australia
Service history
In service 1998–Present
Used by Australian Army
Royal Australian Air Force
Royal Netherlands Army
South Australian Forestry Corporation
British Army
Wars 2003 Iraq War
2001 War in Afghanistan
East Timor (1999–2009)
Production history
Designer Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
Manufacturer Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
Unit cost A$562,878-A$589,182
Produced 2004–Present
Number built ~802
Specifications
Weight 12.4 tonnes (empty)
Length 7.18 m
Width 2.48 m
Height 2.65 m
Crew 1 (plus up to 9 passengers)

Armor 'exceeds STANAG 4569 level 1', Monocoque hull
Primary
armament
Gun ring for 5.56mm and 7.62mm machine guns or a remote weapon station
Secondary
armament
Two additional weapon mounts
Engine Caterpillar 3126E engine
330 hp (246 kW)
Power/weight 26.4 hp/tonne
Suspension 4x4 double wishbone independent
Operational
range
800km
Speed Over 100 km/h

The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built wheeled armoured vehicle. It was originally designed by Irish company Timoney Technology Ltd under a licence agreement with Perry Engineering in Adelaide; that licence was sold, with permission granted by Timoney as required by the licence terms, to Thales Australia. Once the Bushmaster was selected by the Australian Army after trials in 1998 to meet the Bushranger project requirements, the range of variants was developed further by Thales Australia in Bendigo. Oshkosh Truck has a contract to provide support and would manufacture in the US if there was an American order. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army and British Army.

Contents

Design

The role of the Bushmaster is to provide armoured transport, with infantry dismounting from the vehicle before going into action. As the Bushmaster is only lightly armoured, the term Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV) distinguishes it from a heavier wheeled or tracked armoured personnel carrier, such as the Pandur wheeled armour vehicle.

The Bushmaster is optimised for operations in northern Australia, and is capable of carrying up to 9 soldiers and their equipment, fuel and supplies for 3 days, depending on the type of variant. The vehicle is fitted with air conditioning and was once planned to have a cool water drinking system but was omitted upon production due to cost constraints. After operational complaints the cool water drinking system is being reconsidered for installation.[1]

The troop carrier variant of the Bushmaster is fitted with one gun ring. The forward gun ring can be fitted with a 5.56 or 7.62 machine gun. The two rear hatches each have a mounting boss to allow the attachment of a swing mount capable to holding a 5.56 machine gun.

The Bushmaster is a mine protected vehicle and provides a high degree of protection against land mines, using its v-hull monocoque to deflect the blast away from the vehicle and its occupants. The vehicle's armour provides protection against small arms of up to 7.62mm calibre.

The Bushmaster is air transportable in C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.

Variants

A pre-production Bushmaster

Six Bushmaster variants are in production for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. These variants are:

  • Troop variant
  • Command variant
  • Assault Pioneer variant
  • Mortar variant
  • Direct Fire Weapons variant
  • Ambulance variant

The Troop variant being used by the Royal Australian Air Force originally differed from the Army variant in that it was fitted with 10 seats for infantry and a third weapon mount.[2] All Troop variants are now fitted with 10 seats.

Thales Australia has developed a civilian fire fighting variant of the Bushmaster called the FireKing and a military cargo carrying variant called the Armoured Combat Support Vehicle.[3] Thales Australia is continuing to develop new Bushmaster variants for example the Copperhead ACSV (Armoured Combat Support Vehicle).

According to the Australian National Audit Office, unit price for Bushmasters in 2000 differed slightly between variants, ranging from A$562,878 for the troop carrier variant and A$589,182 for the ambulance variant.[4]

The Bushmaster in Australian service

In keeping with the vehicle's role and capabilities, the Australian Army designates Bushmaster equipped infantry units as being motorised, and not mechanised. Following the vehicle's troubled development, a total of 299 Bushmasters were ordered by the Wheeled Manoeuvre Systems Program Office of the Defence Materiel Organisation for the Australian Defence Force (reduced from the 370 which were originally ordered).[5] Bushmaster deliveries began in 2005 (three years later than was originally scheduled) and were scheduled to be completed in July 2007.[4] Deliveries of the troop carrier variant (152 vehicles) were completed on 7 June 2006.[6] Deliveries of the command variant were completed by mid-2006 followed by the delivery of the other variants.

In December 2006 the Australian Minister for Defence announced that the Australian Bushmaster order has been increased and over 400 vehicles will be delivered.[7] This figure was confirmed as 443 vehicles in a subsequent press release.[8] In August 2007 an additional 250 were ordered for a total ADF delivery of 696 vehicles of all configurations. [9] This was further increased in October 2008 to 737 vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.[10]

The South Australian Forestry Corporation (ForestrySA) has ordered 15 FireKings. Deliveries of the FireKing to ForestrySA were completed in November 2005.[11]

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Australian Defence Force Units equiped with the Bushmaster

Australian and United States Army personnel inside a Bushmaster

The majority of Australia's Bushmasters are to be allocated to the Army, though 12 are operated by the Royal Australian Air Force's Airfield Defence Guards.

The Bushmaster will be operated by the following Army units:

The Bushmaster is also operated by both the RAAF's Airfield Defence Squadrons[15]

Each ADS is equipped with six Bushmasters

The Motorised Combat Wing of the Army's Combat Arms Training Centre provides initial training to Army and Air Force Bushmaster drivers. Maintenance training is provided by the Army Logistic Training Centre.

Operational record

A Bushmaster in Iraq in August 2006
A group of Bushmasters in Afghanistan during January 2010

To date, Australia's Bushmasters have been deployed on five operations:

While a full independent assessment of how well the Bushmaster has performed on these deployments is not yet available, Australian Department of Defence press releases and the Army's service newspaper have stated that the vehicles have proven successful. The Bushmaster's high degree of crew and passenger comfort has apparently been particularly appreciated in Iraq.[18]

In September 2006 the Australian Department of Defence announced that it was modifying its fleet of Bushmasters in response to criticisms from Australian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. These criticisms include concerns that the Bushmaster's gunner is exposed to enemy fire and the absence of a drinking water cooling system.[19] The modifications will include fitting a CROWS remote weapon system to at least some Bushmasters and developing an improved water cooling system.[20][21] The protected weapons stations were installed to vehicles deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in early 2007. The installation team comprised staff from Project Bushranger and the Army and was conducted in theatre.

On 17 March 2010, all five Australian soldiers from the 1st mentoring taskforce who were occupying an Australian made Bushmaster Protected Infantry Vehicle were wounded, 3 of them critically, when it was hit by a roadside bomb in the Chora Valley north of the main Australian base near Tarin Kowt in Oruzgan Province during a routine vehicle patrol. It was reportedly the first time that the hull of the Bushmaster had been penetrated. [22]

Exports

Thales Australia is currently marketing the Bushmaster for export. The Bushmaster has been trialed by the United Arab Emirates and exhibited in a number of trade exhibitions.[5] The Bushmaster has been offered to Spain[23][24][25], and may also be offered to Iraq.[26] To date, the Dutch Army and British Army have been the Bushmaster's only export customers.

The Bushmaster in Dutch service

In July 2006 the Dutch Government announced an urgent purchase of 25 Bushmasters to equip Royal Netherlands Army units operating in Afghanistan. Due to the urgency of this purchase these vehicles were taken from Australian Army stocks. Additional Bushmasters will be built to replenish the Australian inventory. 23 Bushmasters were directly delivered to Dutch Army units in Afghanistan starting from 28 August. The remaining two vehicles were transported to The Netherlands to be used for training purposes. Twelve of the Bushmasters were fitted with a Thales SWARM remote weapon station before delivery.[27]

A Dutch Bushmaster in Afghanistan during 2007

July 9, 2007, Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited was awarded a contract of $AUD 5.8 Million for the supply of remote weapon systems for use by the Netherlands army. The contract was awarded to EOS by Thales Australia for fitting to the Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicles manufactured by Thales for the Netherlands army. The order entails 17 CROWS Remote Weapon Stations. It is expected that the first of these systems will be operational in theatre by August 2007.[28]

On September 20, 2007, during an engagement with the Taliban a 20-year-old Dutch soldier was killed in action. His body was evacuated in a Bushmaster which was subsequently attacked with small arms, mortars and RPGs. The vehicle was struck several times but all soldiers in the Bushmaster survived and were unhurt. Since the vehicle was immobilized and still under attack, they were forced to abandon it. Since salvage was not possible the Bushmaster was later destroyed by a Dutch Apache helicopter. The troops were transported out of danger by a second Bushmaster IMV.[29]

On October 19, 2007 during a fire-fight between a Dutch patrol and Taliban insurgents, a Bushmaster was hit by an improvised bomb. Although none of the passengers were hurt, the bomb damaged the front of the Bushmaster. The Bushmaster has been sent to Kamp Holland (the Dutch base) for repairs.[30]

The Netherlands has ordered additional Bushmasters on several occasions in 2007 and 2008. On November 20, 2007 the Dutch Defence Ministry announced that it would acquire an additional 10 vehicles to replace the two damaged and two destroyed vehicles and a Patria armoured vehicle which was also destroyed in Uruzgan. One vehicle will be sent to the Netherlands for training purposes, and the rest will go directly to Afghanistan.[31] The Dutch ordered a further 13 Bushmasters in June 2008, taking their total order to 49 vehicles. At this time six Dutch Bushmasters had been destroyed in Afghanistan.[32][33]

In January 2009, another batch of 9 vehicles was ordered. These vehicles will be fitted with cameras, sensors and a grappler to find and destroy IED's.[34] A further 14 Bushmasters were ordered in June 2009.[35] In August 2009, another 14 vehicles were ordered, bringing the total Dutch order to 86.[36]

Bid for US sales

Thales has teamed with US truck manufacturer Oshkosh to market the Bushmaster in the United States. In late June 2007 it was prematurely reported that the United States military was close to placing an order for 1500 vehicles as part of its MRAP program.[37] This sale did not go ahead. The Bushmaster was officially removed from the MRAP contest on 7 August 2007.[38]

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom purchased 24 Bushmasters in May 2008. Most of the vehicles will be used by the British Army in Iraq.[39]

Spain

In August 2008 it was reported that the Spanish Government was "showing strong interest in the Bushmaster".[33]

France

In 2009 it has been reported that the Busmaster could compete for VAB replacement program under the name of Broussard (Bushmaster in French). In this competition, the Bushmaster will be opposed to a lightened version of Nexter's VBCI an to AMC of Renault.[40] There is a requirement for 2300 vehicles.

References

  1. ^ Bendigo's companion for the battlefield, The Australian, 25 November 2006.
  2. ^ Beefing up Security Air Force News, July 13, 2006.
  3. ^ ADI Limited. Pursuit. Issue 66.
  4. ^ a b Australian National Audit Office "Defence's Project Bushranger: Acquisition of Infantry Mobility Vehicles". Archived from the original on 2006-09-17. http://web.archive.org/web/20060917202519/http://anao.gov.au/WebSite.nsf/Publications/C96AAB7803272D56CA256EC200793001. 
  5. ^ a b Brian Robins and Gerard Ryle Beating about the Bushmaster in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 2004.
  6. ^ Press release issued by the Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Handover of Bushmaster Vehicle to Defence, 7 June 2006.
  7. ^ Press release issued by the Minister for Defence A Stronger Army: The First Stage Approved, 7 December 2006.
  8. ^ Press release issued by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence Issue of Bushmaster Vehicles to Army - 3rd Brigade, 23 February 2007.
  9. ^ Newspaper report [1], 18 August 2007.
  10. ^ The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Minister for Defence (2008-10-29). "Contract Signed for Additional Bushmasters". Press release. http://www.minister.defence.gov.au/Fitzgibbontpl.cfm?CurrentId=8381. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  11. ^ South Australian Minister for Forrests media release FireKing Fleet in Place for Fire Season 24 November 2005.
  12. ^ Green, Al (2006-03-08). "Old faithful set to retire". Army. http://www.defence.gov.au/news/armynews/editions/1138/topstories/story16.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  13. ^ "8/9 RAR Combat Team Deployable in Late 2009". Australian & NZ Defender (Brisbane: Fullbore Magazines) (No. 63): p.55. 2008. ISSN 1322039X. 
  14. ^ Belt, Rebecca (2008-09-29). "Changing of the guard: Hanna leaves HRL in good hands". Northern Daily Leader. http://tamworth.yourguide.com.au/news/local/news/general/changing-of-the-guard-hanna-leaves-hrl-in-good-hands/1284946.aspx. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  15. ^ "ADG Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle". Royal Australian Air Force. http://airforce.gov.au/adg/vehicles/bushmaster.htm. Retrieved 2008-09-30. 
  16. ^ Australian Minister for Defence media release Additional Troops for Operation Overwatch. 4 September 2004.
  17. ^ Photos of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment during Operation Acolyte. Australian Department of Defence, 28 March 2006.
  18. ^ Masters of the Desert Army News, 11 August 2005.
  19. ^ Cynthia Banham Safety of armoured vehicles under fire. The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 September 2006.
  20. ^ Soldier Feedback Makes Bushmasters Even Safer. Department of Defence media release. 1 September 2006.
  21. ^ Defence Materiel Organisation - On Target April 2007
  22. ^ Five diggers wounded by roadside bomb Daily_Telegraph, 17 March 2010.
  23. ^ Thales España ofrece a Defensa probar el Bushmaster pese a no pertenecer a la categoría 8x8
  24. ^ Thales plantea la posibilidad de suministrar el blindado ligero Bushmaster mediante el alquiler de su uso
  25. ^ Thales España ofrece a Defensa 30 Bushmaster 4x4 en seis meses
  26. ^ Army-technology.com Bushmaster armoured vehicle.
  27. ^ Dutch Spend EUR 25M on Bushmaster IMVs for Afghan Mission Defense Industry Daily, 7 August 2006.
  28. ^ Remote Weapon System Breakthrough EOS Optronics GmbH, 13 July 2007.
  29. ^ [2] Dutch newspaper article.
  30. ^ [3] Article on Dutch Ministry of Defence Website.
  31. ^ Ministerie van defensie - Pagina niet gevonden
  32. ^ Lok, Joris Janssen (2008-06-14). "Dutch Order More Bushmaster Vehicles -- Again". Ares (Aviation Week). http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&plckPostId=Blog%3a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%3a402cc53b-4cc5-447e-a570-473bf2f9918e. Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  33. ^ a b Dodd, Mark (2008-08-08). "Dutch army lines up to buy more Bushmasters for combat". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24145966-31477,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  34. ^ http://www.defpro.com/news/details/4777/
  35. ^ http://www.european-defence.co.uk/news/2009/06/050536_dmb.html
  36. ^ http://www.european-defence.co.uk/news/2009/08/050554_dmb.html
  37. ^ US Army buys Bushmasters from Aust. ABC News, 29 June 2006.
  38. ^ MRAP: Oshkosh Entries Stalled on 2 Fronts - Defense Industry Daily
  39. ^ Dodd, Mark (2008-05-14). "Brits buy our army vehicles". The Australian. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23695409-31477,00.html. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  40. ^ Chuter, Andrew (18 June 2009). "Panhard to Push Bushmaster to French Army". DefenseNews (Army Times Publishing Company). http://www.defensenews.com/osd_story.php?sh=VSDY&i=3587525. Retrieved 24 February 2010. 

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