Thales Australia has announced a $14 million contract with the Royal Netherlands Army to design and deliver a specialist Dutch Medevac-variant of the Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle, supporting more than 60 Australian businesses while securing jobs and investment along the extensive Bushmaster supply chain.
Long term Australian suppliers including Wollongong-based Bisalloy Steels, AME Systems, Melbourne-based DVR Engineering and KAB Seating in Dandenong will be joined by a substantial number of additional Australian SMEs and Dutch company Visser Horti Systems, which specialise in the design of clinical white space capabilities for the RNLA. The vehicles are scheduled for delivery in 2021.
The Royal Netherlands Army now operates a fleet of almost 100 Bushmasters after an initial purchase of 25 vehicles as an urgent operational requirement in 2006. Additional vehicles were acquired between 2007 and 2016.
Chris Jenkins, chief executive of Thales Australia, welcomed the announcement, saying, “This recent order is a tribute to the skills and expertise not only in Thales’ Protected Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Bendigo, but in the Australian industry that are our critical partners in manufacturing this world-class vehicle.”
The vehicles have been in service within the Royal Netherlands Army for over 10 years, with an outstanding operational record where the Bushmaster’s superior protection, mobility and combat effectiveness were proven to be critical.
To date, 171 Bushmasters have been exported to seven countries, including: the Netherlands, Fiji, Japan, Jamaica, Indonesia, New Zealand and the UK.
The Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle – medium (PMV-M) is sustaining jobs in Australia and saving lives on deployment in dangerous environments.
The Bushmaster uses an armoured v-shaped hull to protect its passengers from landmines and other explosive devices. The sloped sides on the bottom of the hull act to deflect blasts upward away from the vehicle.
The vehicle's welded one-piece shell is designed to protect troops against all small arms fire. Windows also carry similar ballistic protection.
The Bushmaster's fuel and hydraulic tanks are positioned outside the crew's compartment to protect troops from possible fires. There is also a protected emergency fuel tank so the vehicle won't be left stranded.
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The Defence Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) is responsible for purchasing and supporting the Bushmaster PMV under LAND 116 Project Bushranger. These vehicles are being built in Bendigo in country Victoria.
It is delivering over 1,000 PMV-Ms to Army and Air Force. Seven variants of the Bushmaster have been purchased: troop, command, mortar, assault pioneer, direct fire weapon, ambulance and air defence.
A new general maintenance variant is being created by modifying the assault pioneer variant and an electronic warfare variant is also being developed.