The world of military vehicles contains all manner of machinery and weaponry. From tanks, to trucks, to aircraft and to armored personnel carriers, there is a huge array of vehicles from all across the world getting utilized. Military arms all around the world use these for a wide range of tasks, and one of those is a multirole-protected vehicle. These vehicles are all designed to conduct a wide array of tasks that range from troop carriers, to command patrol as well as infantry support.
Several countries have their own version, including Australia. As you might have predicted, the version Australia has in its armory is that of the Bushmaster. The Bushmaster is a very adaptable vehicle that is currently used all over the world in various roles within Australia and other armed forces, and has seen service with Australia since 1997. It was remarkably the first armored vehicle manufactured in Australia since the Sentinel tank of World War II, so it is a somewhat significant vehicle in the history of Australia’s armed forces. Troop carry is perhaps its main role within the MPV spectrum, among various other tasks.
A Powerful And Dependable Military Vehicle
Like a lot of military vehicles, a powerful engine lies at the heart of the Bushmaster. At the core of it is a Caterpillar 3126E engine that gives the Bushmaster a top speed of over 62 mph or 100 km/h, and it has a range of just under 500 miles at 497 miles, or 800 km. That Caterpillar engine is a 7.2-liter six-cylinder turbocharged diesel unit that produces 300 h p and 1,166 nm of torque making it quite a formidable unit. Transmission wise, it has a ZF Ecomater 6HP502 G2 six-speed transmission.
The Bushmaster is heavily optimized for operations within Northern Australia, and it can carry a good payload. It can carry up to nine soldiers and their equipment, fuel and supplies for three days, depending on the Bushmaster variant. Air conditioning helps to keep the occupants cool in extreme heat, while it is also protected from mines. Its v-hull monocoque helps it to deflect the blast away from the vehicle as well as its occupants. Thanks to its armor, the Bushmaster can protect its occupants from 7.62 mm ball ammunition and 81 mm mortar fragments, as well as Claymore mines.
Notable Moments In The History Of The Bushmaster
The development of the Bushmaster was somewhat troubled, but the Australian Defence Force would soon order 299 of them, although this was down on the original planned allocation of 370. Consistent deliveries of the Bushmaster did not begin until 2005, despite the original introduction of the machine back in 1997. Australia had used limited numbers of the Bushmaster since that year, with ten sent to Iraq in May 2005 and the Australian Army received its first two units in 1999. The 2005 delivery date was some three years later than originally planned.
In 2006 though, the Australian Minister for Defence announced that the order for the Bushmaster had been further increased with over 400 vehicles set to get delivered to its armed forces. This was then confirmed at the number of 443 vehicles, with another 250 ordered in August 2007. This would bring the total up to 696, but that would increase further in October 2008 with some 737 vehicles for delivery to the Australian Defence Force. The troubled development was very much long behind the Bushmaster, and designers and manufacturers Thales Australia were also fulfilling export orders to nations such as the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
A Wide Array Of Bushmaster Variants
Like a lot of military vehicles and equipment, the Bushmaster has had various versions over the years. These were mostly produced for the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force. Versions of it have included the Troop version, the Assault Pioneer, the Mortar variant, an ambulance and even the Air Defence version. A fully electric version of the vehicle was also shown off in August 2022, and it is currently undergoing various trials. Australia does not envisage retiring its own versions of the Bushmaster until at least the 2030s with various upgrades applied over the years.
An Adaptable And Potent Military Vehicle
The Bushmaster has certainly earned its place as one of the most adaptable of current military vehicles. The number of variants of it speak to the versatility of the Bushmaster, and the fact other nations have bought the vehicle shows that it is very highly regarded. Its served well in various conflicts, most notably Afghanistan as well as a security unit at events such as the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Britain has also used the Bushmaster in places like Basra, and during the Iraqi Civil War. It is likely the Bushmaster will see active service for many years to come.
Sources: Thales, Tanks Encyclopedia, UK Elite Forces