Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle

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Bushmaster
A Dutch Army Bushmaster in 2008. This vehicle has been fitted with a remote weapons station.
A Dutch Army Bushmaster in 2008. This vehicle has been fitted with a remote weapons station.
Type 4x4 MRAP Cat. II
Place of origin Australia
Service history
In service 1997 - present
Used by Users
Wars East Timor
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Northern Mali conflict
Production history
Designer Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
Manufacturer Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
Number built 1,072
Variants Troop, Command, Ambulance, IED, Utility
Specifications
Weight 11,400 kg (25,133 lb) (kerb)[1]
15,400 kg (33,951 lb) (GVM)[1]
Length 7,180 mm[1]
Width 2,480 mm[1]
Height 2,650 mm[1]
Crew 1 (driver),
9 (passengers)[1]

Armor ballistic exceeds STANAG 4569 level 1 - standard[2]
ballistic up to STANAG 4569 level 3 - option[2]
FSP up to STANAG 4569 level 5 - option[2]
IED high level of protection from monocoque hull - standard[2]
mine exceeds STANAG 4569 level 3 - standard[2]
Main
armament
Remote weapon station up to 12.7mm HMG or 40mm AGM launcher, or
manned open turrent up to 12.7mm HMG or 40mm AGM launcher[1]
Secondary
armament
Manned swing mounts up to 7.62mm (one front and two rear)[1]
Engine Caterpillar 3126E 7.2L six-cylinder diesel, turbocharged[1]
224 kW (300 hp) @ 2,200rpm
1,166 N·m (860 lb·ft) @ 1,440rpm[1]
Power/weight 26.4 hp/tonne
Transmission ZF 6HP502 ECOMAT G2 (six forward speeds, one reverse)[1]
Suspension Arvin Meritor 4000 series fully independent, progressive coil spring with upper control arm and lower wishbone[1]
Ground clearance 1,340 mm (front overhang)[1]
1,950 mm (rear overhang)[1]
40° (approach angle)[1]
38° (departure angle)[1]
108° (ramp over angle)[1]
60% (gradient)[1]
36° (side slope)[1]
460 mm (vertical obstacle)[1]
1,200 mm (fording, unprepared)[1]
Fuel capacity 319 L (84 U.S. gal)[1]
Operational
range
800 km (497 mi)[1]
Speed 100km/h (governed)[1]
Steering
system
Power assisted

The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built four wheeled, all-wheel drive armoured vehicle. The Bushmaster is produced by Thales Australia and Oshkosh Truck has a contract to provide support and would manufacture in the US if there were an American order. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army, British Army and the Jamaica Defence Force.[3]

The role of the Bushmaster is to provide protected mobility transport (or protected troop lift capability), with infantry dismounting from the vehicle before going into action. As the Bushmaster is only lightly armoured, the term Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV) was initially adopted to distinguish it from a heavier wheeled or tracked armoured personnel carrier, such as the ASLAV and M113 also in Australian service. Later the Bushmaster's designation was changed to Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV).[4]

Development[edit]

A pre-production Bushmaster

The 1991 Defence Force Structure Review identified the Australian Army need for a Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV).[5] The 1994 White Paper stated that new land force vehicles would be acquired.[5] Project Bushranger (Land 116) was created to procure both protected and unprotected vehicles.[5][6] The Infantry Improvised Mobility Vehicle (IIMV), a fleet of unarmoured Land Rover Perentie vehicles, were purchased from November 1993 to fill the IMV role until it entered service.[5][6] In February 1994, the draft specification for the IMV was released, followed in July by the invitation to register interest with 17 proposals received including by Australian company Perry Engineering with the Bushmaster and by Australian Specialised Vehicle System with the Taipan derived from the South African Mamba.[5][6] In September 1995, the request for tender was issued to 5 shortlisted proposals and in January 1997 due to withdrawals the Bushmaster and Taipan remained the only bidders.[5][6]

In early 1996, Perry Engineering produced a prototype Bushmaster based on a Irish designed Timoney Technologies MP44, including the Rockwell/Timoney independent suspension, and with U.S. company Stewart & Stevenson components from the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV).[7][8][9][10] Over 65% of the components by Stewart & Stevenson were from the FMTV including engine, transmission, steering, instrumentation, electrical and pneumatic systems.[6][8] The prototype was built in less than seven months.[8]

In September 1996, the Australian government owned company Australian Defence Industries (ADI) purchased the intellectual property rights from Boral Johns Perry Group, who owned Perry Engineering, with agreement from Timoney Technologies and Stewart & Stevenson.[5][11][12][13]

In November 1997, ADI launched its re-engineered Bushmaster proposal changing the design and shape of the hull to withstand a greater force and associated internal and external features.[11][14] In March 1998, three Bushmaster IMVs and three Taipain IMVs built in South Africa started a 44 week competitive evaluation trial.[6][13] Neither vehicle fully met all of the requirements of the specification, and performed with varying success over the course of the trials.[5]

On 10 March 1999, ADI was awarded the Bushranger contract to produce the Bushmaster to be manufactured at their Bendigo facility.[6][14] In November 1999, ADI was privatised becoming 50% owned by French company Thales and 50% owned by Australian company Transfield. In 2006, ADI was renamed to Thales Australia following Thales buying out Transfield.

Design[edit]

Australian and United States Army personnel inside a Bushmaster

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 drinking water cooling system is being reconsidered for installation.[15] It has a road cruise speed of 100 km/h and an operational range of 800 km.[16]

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 7.62 mm ball ammunition, 81mm mortar fragments, Claymore mines, and with additional applique armor, protection for armour piercing ammunition of up to 7.62mm.[6][14] The fuel and hydraulic tanks of the vehicle are located outside the crew compartment, while it also has an automatic fire suppression system. The troop carrier variant of the Bushmaster is fitted with one gun ring. The forward gun ring can be fitted with a 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm machine gun.[16] The two rear hatches each have a mounting boss to allow the attachment of a swing mount capable of holding a 7.62 mm machine gun.

The Bushmaster is air transportable by C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III and Mil Mi-26 aircraft.[17][18] It is the first armoured vehicle to be designed and completely manufactured in Australia since the Sentinel tank during World War II.[6][19]

History[edit]

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).[20] Bushmaster deliveries began in 2005 (three years later than was originally scheduled) and were scheduled to be completed in July 2007.[5] Deliveries of the troop carrier variant (152 vehicles) were completed on 7 June 2006.[21] 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.[22] This figure was confirmed as 443 vehicles in a subsequent press release.[23] In August 2007 an additional 250 were ordered for a total ADF delivery of 696 vehicles of all configurations.[24] This was further increased in October 2008 to 737 vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.[25] On 12 May 2011 the Australian government announced the purchase of an additional 101 Bushmasters, in order to replace vehicles damaged on operations and to provide additional vehicles for training and operational use.[26] A further order for 214 vehicles was announced in July 2012.[27]

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.

Variants[edit]

Seven Bushmaster variants have been produced for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force, these are:[16][28]

  • Troop[1]
  • Command
  • Assault Pioneer
  • Air Defence
  • Mortar variant
  • Direct Fire Weapons
  • Ambulance[29]

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.[30] However, all Troop variants are now fitted with 10 seats.[31]

A Single Cab Utility variant of the Bushmaster was unsuccessfully proposed for the Land 121 Phase 3 Project.[32][33][34][35] There is also a Dual Cab Utility variant.[36]

A Improvised Explosive Device (IED) interrogation variant was purchased by the Dutch Army with a hydraulic arm fitted with interrogation tool, light, camera, metal detector and proximity detector.[37]

A Self Protection Adaptive Roller Kit (SPARK) Mine Roller Mark 2 (SMR2) can be fitted.[38] Also, a ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) Kit can be fitted.[39]

In January 2015, it was reported that a Electronic Warfare variant with a 6-metre (20 ft) mast is currently under development to meet an Australian requirement under the Defence Capability Plan.[40]

Civilian[edit]

A fire fighting variant named the "FireKing" is operated by the South Australian Forestry Corporation (ForestySA) with 15 in service.[34][41][42][43]

A Bushmaster was used in a Victoria Police operation in 2014 painted grey with police decals.[44]

Modifications[edit]

In September 2007, the Army reported that the fleet would be upgraded with a protected weapon system (PWS) that is stabilised with thermal imaging, camera and laser range finder.[31][45] Other upgrades include spall curtains, fire suppression system, cool water drinking system and an additional seat.[31] Following criticisms from Australian soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan including that the gunner is exposed to enemy fire.[46]

Between 2009 and 2012, the Protected Mobility, Troop, Command and Mortar variants in use in Afghanistan were upgraded. The upgrade included the addition of the protected remotely controlled weapons station, automated fire suppression system and ECM systems.[47] The Special Operations Task Group vehicles were fitted with a weapon ring to mount a 12.7mm heavy machine gun.[47] There was also a survivability enhancement to the lower hull, floor, seat mounts and axle caps.[47] Two adaptive roller kits were provided able to be mounted to the front of the vehicle for protection against mines or IEDs.[47] In late 2012, the entire fleet was rotated, with new upgraded vehicles provided with increased blast protection and the option of adding extra external composited armour.[47]

In 2015, 45 Bushmasters had their remote weapons systems (RWS) upgraded similar to systems on tank turrets.[48]

Operational service[edit]

Australia[edit]

Two Bushmasters passing through a settlement in Afghanistan during April 2010

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

On 17 March 2010, all five Australian soldiers from the 1st Mentoring Task Force who were occupying a Bushmaster were wounded, three of them seriously, 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.[53] As of May 2011, 31 Bushmasters have been damaged beyond repair while serving with the Australian Army.[26] The largest number operating in Afghanistan at one time was 104.[47]

Netherlands[edit]

A Bushmaster damaged after striking an improvised explosive device

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.[54]

9 July 2007, Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited was awarded a contract of A$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.[55]

On 20 September 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.[56]

On 19 October 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 was sent to Kamp Holland (the Dutch base) for repairs.[57]

A Dutch Bushmaster in Afghanistan during 2007

The Netherlands has ordered additional Bushmasters on several occasions in 2007 and 2008. On 20 November 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.[58] 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.[59][60]

In January 2009, another batch of nine vehicles was ordered. These vehicles will be fitted with cameras, sensors and a grappler to find and destroy Improvised explosive devices (IEDs).[61] A further 14 Bushmasters were ordered in June 2009. [62] In August 2009, another 14 vehicles were ordered, bringing the total Dutch order to 86. [63] Dutch special forces deployed as part of the Northern Mali conflict from April 2014 are equipped with a number Bushmasters.[64] May 2015 a Dutch Bushmaster was struck by an IED near Kidal. No one was hurt by this incident and the Bushmaster was returned to the Dutch kamp at Gao.[65] In June 2015, a further 12 were ordered. [66]

United Kingdom[edit]

The British Army acquired 24 Bushmasters in April 2008 specifically for use in Iraq to support Task Force Black and United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) operations around Basra.[67][68][69][70][71] The vehicles were heavily modified and were used to provide armoured transport for strike teams. Features included an increased armour package, bull-bar, ECM and anti-IED suites, and a CROWS RWS fitted with an M2 .50 calibre machine gun. The UKSF had been using an armoured hull protected vehicle in Afghanistan the Supacat HMT 400 since 2003.[72] The Bushmaster provided all-round protection, compared to the HMT 400 with an exposed crew, that was required in built-up urban areas in Iraq.[73] UKSF left Iraq in May 2009.[74]

Operators[edit]

Map of Bushmaster operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

  •  Australia: a total of 1,052 Bushmasters have been ordered by the Australian Defence Force.[75]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom: 24 Bushmasters purchased in April 2008.[69][70] British vehicles are fitted with additional armor, electronics to counter IEDs and a .50 calibre machine gun mounted in a RWS.[67]
  • Netherlands Netherlands: 98 Bushmasters ordered; the Netherlands is the second largest operator of the Bushmaster. [66] In operational use by the Dutch Army and Royal Dutch Marines.
  • Indonesia Indonesia: 3 Bushmasters for initial order.[76] The vehicles were delivered to the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) in February 2014.[75]
  • Jamaica Jamaica: 12 ordered in December 2013 to replace the Jamaican Defence Force's fourteen Cadillac Gage V150s.[77] Deliveries began in mid-2015, and will be completed in early 2016.[78]
  • Japan Japan: 4 vehicles ordered in April 2014.[79] It is intended that they will be used to transport Japanese evacuees in the event of overseas hostage situations.[75]

Potential operators[edit]

Failed bids[edit]

  • United States United States: 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 Department of Defense was close to placing an order for 1,500 vehicles as part of its MRAP (armored vehicle) program.[83] This sale did not go ahead. The Bushmaster was officially removed from the MRAP contest on 7 August 2007.[84]
  • Canada Canada: A bid was submitted with Thales Canada and DEW Engineering for the Tactical Armored Vehicle Program, but later withdrawn when the Canadian government decided it wanted a smaller vehicle; the competition was ultimately won by Textron with a modified M117, tailored to Canadian requirements.[85]
  • France France: The Bushmaster, under the name of Broussard (Bushmaster in French), is competing against a lightened version of Nexter's VBCI and the Renault AMC for a 2,300 vehicle contract to replace the French Army's VABs.[86] France finally went for a solution from Nexter called the Griffon.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
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  2. ^ a b c d e "Bushmaster (brochure)" (PDF). ADI. 16 February 2006. 
  3. ^ Angus, Garfield (14 January 2016). "PM Commissions JDF's Protected Mobility Vehicles Squadron". Jamaica Information Service. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Haugh, David; Keenan, Patrick. "Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV)". WarWheels.Net. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Australian National Audit Office "Defence's Project Bushranger: Acquisition of Infantry Mobility Vehicles". Archived from the original on 2006-09-17. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dover, Benjamin (June 1999). "Project Bushranger comes to fruition". Military Technology (Vol. 23 (6)). 
  7. ^ "Further contenders for Australia's Bushranger". Jane's International Defense Review (20). 1 June 1996. 
  8. ^ a b c Foss, Christopher F (19 June 1996). "Bushmaster in frame for Australian army". Jane's Defence Weekly (97). 
  9. ^ "Background - Armoured Patrol Vehicle Candidates - Bushmaster". Canadian American Strategic Review. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  10. ^ "Timoney MP44 Mine Protected Armoured Personnel Carrier". Irish Armored Vehicles. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b "ADI launches Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle". Jane's International Defense Review (22). 1 January 1998. 
  12. ^ "Infantry Mobility Vehicles". Hansard (Page 6196). Parliament of Australia. 24 June 1997. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  13. ^ a b Foss, Christopher F. J (11 March 1998). "Australia closes in on infantry vehicle order". Jane's Defence Weekly (17). 
  14. ^ a b c Bostock, Ian (17 March 1999). "Australian infantry orders 350 Bushmasters from ADI". Jane's Defence Weekly (Vol. 031 (011)). 
  15. ^ Cotterill, Daniel (25 November 2006). "Bendigo's companion for the battlefield". The Australian. News Limited. 
  16. ^ a b c d Connery, David; Cran, David; Evered, David (2012). Conducting Counterinsurgency – Reconstruction Task Force 4 in Afghanistan. Newport, New South Wales: Big Sky Publishing. pp. 24–25. ISBN 9781921941771. 
  17. ^ Russians provide big fix Army News, 1 April 2010.
  18. ^ "Bushmaster takes a ride". Department of Defence. 12 March 2010. 
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  29. ^ "Ambulance (brochure)" (PDF). War Wheels. Thales Australia. 12 September 2012. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  30. ^ "Beefing up security". Air Force: The Official Newspaper of the Royal Australian Air Force (4812 ed). 13 July 2006. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
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  39. ^ "ISTAR" (PDF). War Wheels. Thales Australia. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
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  41. ^ Williamson, Brett (8 March 2013). "Fighting forest fires in a fortress on wheels". 891 ABC Adelaide. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
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  50. ^ Jamieson, Cpl Cameron (11 August 2005). "Masters of the Desert - Aussie-made IMV a success on first deployment". Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1126 ed). 
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  52. ^ Photos of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment during Operation Acolyte. Australian Department of Defence, 28 March 2006.
  53. ^ "Five diggers wounded by roadside bomb". The Daily Telegraph. Australian Associated Press. 17 March 2010. 
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  55. ^ Remote Weapon System Breakthrough EOS Optronics GmbH, 13 July 2007.
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  58. ^ "Extra Bushmasters voor missie Uruzgan". Ministerie van Defensie. 20 November 2007. 
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  65. ^ "Nederlanders rijden in Mali op bermbom; geen gewonden". www.nos.nl. Retrieved 10 August 2016. 
  66. ^ a b "Netherlands orders 12 new Bushmasters". Thales Australia. 30 June 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2016. 
  67. ^ a b Neville (2011), p. 42
  68. ^ Dodd, Mark (10 March 2008). "British army show interest in Bushmaster". The Australian. 
  69. ^ a b Tran, Pierre (21 April 2008). "Bushmaster Market Expands to U.K.". Defense News. 
  70. ^ a b Dodd, Mark (14 May 2008). "Brits buy our army vehicles". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  71. ^ Connors, Shaun (9 April 2014). "Briefing: Wheels of the Elite". Jane's Defence Weekly. Volume 51 (20). ISSN 0265-3818. 
  72. ^ Herschelman, Kerry (1 October 2014). "UKSF to evaluate General Dynamics' Flyer-72". Jane's International Defense Review (Vol. 47 (10)). 
  73. ^ Neville (2011), p. 21
  74. ^ Urban, Mark, Task Force Black: The Explosive True Story of the Secret Special Forces War in Iraq , St. Martin's Griffin , 2012 ISBN 1250006961 ISBN 978-1250006967,p.270
  75. ^ a b c Grevatt, Jon; Hardy, James (6 April 2014). "Indonesia, Japan buy Bushmasters". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  76. ^ a b "High demand for Victorian-made Bushmaster troop carriers". News.com.au. 13 December 2013. 
  77. ^ Jamaica Defense Forces to acquire 12 Bushmaster armoured personnel carrier from Thales Australia – Armyrecognition.com, 3 December 2013
  78. ^ Barreira, Victor (11 November 2015). "Jamaica continues receiving Bushmaster APCs". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  79. ^ "Japan has ordered four Bushmaster 4x4 armoured vehicles from Thales Australia". Armyrecognition.com. 7 April 2014. 
  80. ^ "Thales España ofrece a Defensa probar el Bushmaster pese a no pertenecer a la categoría 8x8". Infodefensa.com. 1 June 2009. 
  81. ^ "Thales plantea la posibilidad de suministrar el blindado ligero Bushmaster mediante el alquiler de su uso". Infodefensa.com. 5 December 2008. 
  82. ^ "Thales España ofrece a Defensa 30 Bushmaster 4x4 en seis meses". Infodefensa.com. 19 September 2009. 
  83. ^ "US Army buys Bushmasters from Aust". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 June 2007. 
  84. ^ "MRAP: Oshkosh Entries Stalled on 2 Fronts". Defense Industry Daily. Watershed Publishing. 19 August 2007. 
  85. ^ "FLCV: Canada Looks to Upgrade Its Armor". Defense Industry Daily. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  86. ^ Chuter, Andrew (18 June 2009). "Panhard to Push Bushmaster to French Army". DefenseNews. Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 24 February 2010. [dead link]
Bibliography
  • Neville, Leigh (2011). Special Operations Patrol Vehicles: Afghanistan and Iraq. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-187-0. 

External links[edit]