Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today visited Thales in Bendigo to inspect the Bushmaster vehicles used by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
Bushmasters are made in Bendigo and are used to transport troops in the field.
Mr Clare was joined by the Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons, the Chief Executive Officer of Thales Australia Chris Jenkins and Brigadier David Shields.
There are already 584 Bushmaster vehicles in service. A further 153 vehicles are expected to be delivered by March 2012.
Mr Clare said “These vehicles are saving the lives of Australian soldiers in Afghanistan”.
"When our troops move around in Afghanistan, they do it in Bushmasters made here in Bendigo.
"They have been hit hard by IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and have done an incredible job protecting the lives of the Australian soldiers inside.”
Thales has also sold the Bushmaster vehicle to the British Army and the Netherlands Army.
Mr Clare said the Defence Export Unit was working closely with Thales to pursue more overseas opportunities for the Bushmaster.