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Australian Army to Upgrade Bushmaster Vehicles

The protection and crew comfort of one of the most effective new items of equipment of the Australian Army, the Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle, is being further improved as a result of operational experience in the Middle East.

The Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie, expressed confidence in the Bushmaster following press reports on 1 September that crews had criticised the lack of an on-board drinking water cooling system, and aspects of armour protection.

“Feedback from crews of the 26 Bushmasters on operations in the Middle East is significantly influencing improvements under way for this vehicle,” Lieutenant General Gillespie said.

“The results of listening to this feedback include a new prototype cooling system for the on-board drinking water tank, which is planned for field testing in October this year.”

Lieutenant General Gillespie said that Bushmaster vehicles already provide crews with a high level of blast and ballistic protection, but Defence is enhancing crew protection features.

“In July 2006 the Government approved rapid acquisition of a protected weapon station for Bushmaster,” he said. “Soldiers will operate the protected weapon station by remote control from inside the Bushmaster, without exposing themselves to fire.

“The protected weapon station also will improve the surveillance capability of the Bushmaster at all hours and in all weather.

“Initial engineering design work has been completed and the first protected weapon stations will be fielded on operations before the end of the year.”

Lieutenant General Gillespie said that the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) are testing further proposed enhancements to armour protection.

These tests cover ballistics, blast and handling to assess the effect of armour weight on the safe operation and capabilities of the vehicle.

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Soldier Feedback Makes Army Bushmaster Vehicles Even Better