Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle

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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 1998 – 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)
Unit cost A$562,878-A$589,182
Produced 2004 – present
Number built 1,072
Variants Command, ISTAR, Explosive Disposal, Troop Carrier, Utility
Weight 12,400 kg (27,337 lb) (kerb),
15,000 kg (33,069 lb) (GVM)
Length 7,180 mm
Width 2,480 mm
Height 2,650 mm
Crew 1 (driver),
9 (passengers)

Armor Greater than STANAG 4569, Level 1. V-shaped monocoque hull
One forward main gun ring for a heavy crew served system
Two rear swing mounts
Engine Caterpillar 3126E 7.2L six-cylinder diesel, turbocharged
246 kW (330 hp) @ 2,200rpm
1,166 N·m (860 lb·ft) @ 1,440rpm
Power/weight 26.4 hp/tonne
Transmission ZF 6HP502 ECOMAT G2 (six forward speeds, one reverse)
Suspension Arvin Meritor 4000 series fully independent, progressive coil spring with upper control arm and lower wishbone
Ground clearance 1,340 mm (front overhang),
1,950 mm (rear overhang),
40° (approach angle),
38° (departure angle),
60% (gradient),
36° (side slope),
457 mm (vertical obstacle),
1,200 mm (fording, unprepared)
Fuel capacity 319 L (84 U.S. gal)
800 km (497 mi) (GVM)
Speed 100km/h (governed)
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 based on a design 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 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.[1]


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. The Bushmaster replaced a stop-gap unarmoured 6x6 vehicle of the Land Rover Perentie family called the Infantry Improvised Mobility Vehicle (IIMV). Later the Bushmaster's designation was changed to Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV).[2]

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.[3] It has a road cruise speed of 100 km/h and an operational range of 800 km.[4]

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 calibre.[citation needed] 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.[4] The two rear hatches each have a mounting boss to allow the attachment of a swing mount capable of holding a 5.56 mm machine gun (such as the F89 Minimi).[citation needed]

The Bushmaster is air transportable by C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III and Mil Mi-26 aircraft.[5][6] It is the first armoured vehicle to be designed and completely manufactured in Australia since the Sentinel tank during the Second World War.[7]


A pre-production Bushmaster

Seven Bushmaster variants have been produced for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. These are:[4]

  • Troop variant
  • Command variant
  • Assault Pioneer variant
  • Air Defence 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.[8] However, all Troop variants are now fitted with 10 seats.[citation needed]

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 (ACSV).[9] This variant is currently being evaluated for service with the Australian Army under LAND 121 (Project Overlander), which will see the replacement of up to 2,000 vehicles and trailers.[10] As of 2015 an Electronic Warfare variant with a 6-metre (20 ft) mast is currently under development to meet an Australian requirement under the Defence Capability Plan.[11]

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.[12]

Operational 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).[13] Bushmaster deliveries began in 2005 (three years later than was originally scheduled) and were scheduled to be completed in July 2007.[12] Deliveries of the troop carrier variant (152 vehicles) were completed on 7 June 2006.[14] 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.[15] This figure was confirmed as 443 vehicles in a subsequent press release.[16] In August 2007 an additional 250 were ordered for a total ADF delivery of 696 vehicles of all configurations.[17] This was further increased in October 2008 to 737 vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.[18] 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.[19] A further order for 214 vehicles was announced in July 2012.[20]

The South Australian Forestry Corporation (trading as ForestrySA) has ordered 15 FireKings. Deliveries of the FireKing to ForestrySA were completed in November 2005.[21]

Australian and United States Army personnel inside a Bushmaster

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[edit]

Two Bushmasters passing through a settlement in Afghanistan during April 2010

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

A Bushmaster damaged after striking an improvised explosive device

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.[24]

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.[25] The modifications will include fitting a CROWS remote weapon system (RWS) to at least some Bushmasters and developing an improved water cooling system.[26][27] 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 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.[28] As of May 2011, 31 Bushmasters have been damaged beyond repair while serving with the Australian Army.[19]


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.[29]

A Dutch Bushmaster in Afghanistan during 2007

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.[30]

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.[31]

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.[32]

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.[33] 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.[34][35]

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).[36] A further 14 Bushmasters were ordered in June 2009. In August 2009, another 14 vehicles were ordered, bringing the total Dutch order to 86.[37] In 2014 the Dutch government announced that it would order an additional batch of 20 vehicles for use by the Royal Dutch Marines.[38] Dutch special forces deployed as part of the Northern Mali conflict from April 2014 are equipped with a number Bushmasters.[39] 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.[40]

United Kingdom[edit]

The British Army acquired 24 Bushmasters in mid-2008 specifically for use in Iraq to support Task Force Black and United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) operations around Basra.[41] 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 Bushmaster was reportedly used instead of other platforms available to the UKSF due to its better all-round protection in built-up urban areas.[42]


Map of Bushmaster operators in blue

Current operators[edit]

  •  Australia: a total of 1,052 Bushmasters have been ordered by the Australian Defence Force.[43]
  • United Kingdom United Kingdom: 24 Bushmasters purchased in May 2008.[44] British vehicles are fitted with additional armor, electronics to counter IEDs and a .50 calibre machine gun mounted in a RWS.[41]
  • Netherlands Netherlands: 106 Bushmasters ordered; the Netherlands is the second largest operator of the Bushmaster. In operational use by the Dutch Army and Royal Dutch Marines.
  • Indonesia Indonesia: 3 Bushmasters for initial order.[45] The vehicles were delivered to the Indonesian Special Forces (Kopassus) in February 2014.[43]
  • Jamaica Jamaica: 12 ordered in December 2013 to replace the Jamaican Defence Force's fourteen Cadillac Gage V150s.[46] Deliveries began in mid-2015, and will be completed in early 2016.[47]
  • Japan Japan: 4 vehicles ordered in April 2014.[48] It is intended that they will be used to transport Japanese evacuees in the event of overseas hostage situations.[43]

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.[52] This sale did not go ahead. The Bushmaster was officially removed from the MRAP contest on 7 August 2007.[53]
  • 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.[54]
  • 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.[55] France finally went for a solution from Nexter called the Griffon.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Angus, Garfield (14 January 2016). "PM Commissions JDF's Protected Mobility Vehicles Squadron". Jamaica Information Service. Retrieved 16 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Haugh, David; Keenan, Patrick. "Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV)". WarWheels.Net. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Cotterill, Daniel (25 November 2006). "Bendigo's companion for the battlefield". The Australian. News Limited. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ Russians provide big fix Army News, 1 April 2010.
  6. ^ "Bushmaster takes a ride". Department of Defence. 12 March 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Toal, Mick (1 July 2009). "Bushmaster turns 10". Australian Defence Magazine (Sydney, New South Wales: Yaffa Publishing Group). ISSN 1324-6550. 
  8. ^ Beefing up Security Air Force News, 13 July 2006.
  9. ^ Limited, ADI. "Pursuit. Issue 66." (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2006. 
  10. ^ Defence Today, "Bushmaster selected for LAND 121", March 2010, p. 2.
  11. ^ Kerr, Julian (27 January 2015). "Bushmaster EW variant on show". Australian Defence Magazine (Sydney, New South Wales: Yaffa Publishing Group). ISSN 1324-6550. 
  12. ^ a b Australian National Audit Office "Defence's Project Bushranger: Acquisition of Infantry Mobility Vehicles". Archived from the original on 2006-09-17. 
  13. ^ a b Brian Robins and Gerard Ryle Beating about the Bushmaster in The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 2004.
  14. ^ "Hand over of Bushmaster Vehicle to Defence". Press release. The Hon. Bruce Billson MP, Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence. 7 June 2006. 
  15. ^ "A Stronger Army: The First Stage Approved". Press release. The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Defence. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  16. ^ "Issue of Bushmaster Vehicles to Army – 3rd Brigade". Press release. Mr Peter Lindsay MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence. 23 February 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  17. ^ "ADF to acquire another 250 Bushmasters". The Age. Australian Associated Press. 18 August 2007. 
  18. ^ "Contract Signed for Additional Bushmasters" (Press release). The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Minister for Defence. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-29. 
  19. ^ a b "More vehicles on the way". Army News (Canberra: Australian Department of Defence). 26 May 2011. p. 16. 
  20. ^ "Australian Army orders additional Bushmasters from Thales". Retrieved 2012-11-02. [unreliable source?]
  21. ^ South Australian Minister for Forests media release FireKing Fleet in Place for Fire Season 24 November 2005.
  22. ^ "Additional Troops for Operation Overwatch". Press release. The Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Defence. 4 September 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2012. 
  23. ^ Photos of 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment during Operation Acolyte. Australian Department of Defence, 28 March 2006.
  24. ^ Masters of the Desert Army News, 11 August 2005.
  25. ^ Banham, Cynthia (1 September 2006). "Safety of armoured vehicles under fire". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  26. ^ Soldier Feedback Makes Bushmasters Even Safer. Department of Defence media release. 1 September 2006.
  27. ^ Defence Materiel Organisation – On Target April 2007
  28. ^ "Five diggers wounded by roadside bomb". The Daily Telegraph. Australian Associated Press. 17 March 2010. 
  29. ^ "Dutch Spend EUR25M on Bushmaster IMVs for Afghan Mission". Defense Industry Daily (Watershed Publishing). 7 August 2006. 
  30. ^ Remote Weapon System Breakthrough EOS Optronics GmbH, 13 July 2007.
  31. ^ "Opnieuw Nederlander omgekomen in Uruzgan". De Pers. 20 September 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2012. 
  32. ^ "Bushmaster beschadigd na vuurcontact". Ministerie van Defensie. 20 October 2007. 
  33. ^ "Extra Bushmasters voor missie Uruzgan". Ministerie van Defensie. 20 November 2007. 
  34. ^ Lok, Joris Janssen (14 June 2008). "Dutch Order More Bushmaster Vehicles – Again". Ares (Aviation Week). Retrieved 2008-06-16. 
  35. ^ a b Dodd, Mark (8 August 2008). "Dutch army lines up to buy more Bushmasters for combat". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-08-12. 
  36. ^ "Dutch buys additional Bushmaster IMVs for Afghan Mission". Defence Professionals. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  37. ^ "Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicle, Australia". army-technology.com. 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015. [unreliable source?]
  38. ^ Steketee, Meeno (19 September 2014). "Dutch to increase defence spending". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  39. ^ "Dutch contributions in Mali". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  40. ^ http://nos.nl/artikel/2035161-nederlanders-rijden-in-mali-op-bermbom-geen-gewonden.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  41. ^ a b Neville (2011), p. 42
  42. ^ Neville (2011), p. 21
  43. ^ a b c Grevatt, Jon; Hardy, James (6 April 2014). "Indonesia, Japan buy Bushmasters". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  44. ^ Dodd, Mark (14 May 2008). "Brits buy our army vehicles". The Australian. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  45. ^ a b "High demand for Victorian-made Bushmaster troop carriers". News.com.au. 13 December 2013. 
  46. ^ Jamaica Defense Forces to acquire 12 Bushmaster armoured personnel carrier from Thales Australia – Armyrecognition.com, 3 December 2013
  47. ^ Barreira, Victor (11 November 2015). "Jamaica continues receiving Bushmaster APCs". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  48. ^ "Japan has ordered four Bushmaster 4x4 armoured vehicles from Thales Australia". Armyrecognition.com. 7 April 2014. 
  49. ^ "Thales España ofrece a Defensa probar el Bushmaster pese a no pertenecer a la categoría 8x8". Infodefensa.com. 1 June 2009. 
  50. ^ "Thales plantea la posibilidad de suministrar el blindado ligero Bushmaster mediante el alquiler de su uso". Infodefensa.com. 5 December 2008. 
  51. ^ "Thales España ofrece a Defensa 30 Bushmaster 4x4 en seis meses". Infodefensa.com. 19 September 2009. 
  52. ^ "US Army buys Bushmasters from Aust". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 29 June 2007. 
  53. ^ "MRAP: Oshkosh Entries Stalled on 2 Fronts". Defense Industry Daily. Watershed Publishing. 19 August 2007. 
  54. ^ "FLCV: Canada Looks to Upgrade Its Armor". Defense Industry Daily. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  55. ^ Chuter, Andrew (18 June 2009). "Panhard to Push Bushmaster to French Army". DefenseNews (Army Times Publishing Company). Retrieved 24 February 2010. [dead link]
  • Neville, Leigh (2011). Special Operations Patrol Vehicles: Afghanistan and Iraq. Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84908-187-0. 

External links[edit]