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Netherlands wants more Bushmasters
Thick skinned: The Bendigo-made Bushmaster leads the charge of the Dutch Light Brigade.
Thales wins new Bushmaster order from its best foreign customer, Dutch Light Brigade
22 July 2015
THALES’ defence vehicle plant in Bendigo, Victoria, has won another significant
order for its well-established Bushmaster armoured troop carrier.
The Dutch defence forces want an extra 12 Bushmasters to add to the 86 they
bought between 2006 and 2009.
Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said the new order would be
delivered by the middle of 2016.
“The Bushmaster has proven itself on operations with the Dutch military in
Afghanistan and is a vital component of their Light Brigade,” he said.
“This export order shows their continuing confidence in the Bushmaster, its
ability to protect troops in theatre and to save lives.”
The Netherlands is the second biggest buyer of Bushmasters, behind Australia,
which now operates 1050 Bushmasters.
Other countries to use the Bushmaster are Jamaica with 12 and Japan, which has
Although Thales is not saying anything, a report on the eliteukforces website
indicates that British special forces, the SAS, acquired 24 Bushmasters for use
in its campaign in Iraq, particularly for patrolling in urban areas.
The Bushmaster’s V-shaped hull is ideal for deflecting the blast from
improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or mines. The bodywork and glass can also
withstand small arms fire up to 7.6mm.
The Bushmaster has four lockable roof hatches that serve as gun ports or escape
Gun mounts on three of the hatches can accommodate machine guns, grenade
machine guns and heavy caliber machine guns.
The new order is good news for the Thales operation in Bendigo, which is the
only defence vehicle plant in the Thales group. Thales operates in 56 countries
and has revenues of €13 billion ($A19.3 billion) a year.
Since the Bushmaster was launched in 1998, more than 1100 have been made at the
rate of around five a month. The Defence Department is not saying how many are
A Thales spokesman said maintainability is good thanks to the extensive use of
commercial off-the-shelf components and the ready access the design offers for
maintainers in the field.
“The Bushmaster has a well-established supply chain that has been functioning
efficiently for many years,” the spokesman said.
“It involves more than 100 suppliers who deliver parts as required for either
maintenance or upgrade. The company also keeps stores of critical parts on hand
to ensure quick turnaround times.”
The 12.4 tonne machines can carry up to 10 personnel, including the driver, and
have a steel, V-shaped hull to deflect mine blasts. It comes in seven different
variants. They cost around $560,000 each.
The Bushmaster is powered by a 7.2-litre turbo-charged Caterpillar diesel
churning out 246kW and 1166Nm into a six-speed automatic ZF transmission. It is
limited to 100km/h.
The spokesman said the Bushmaster had evolved and been upgraded since its
launch and was still competitive as a mobile and life-saving vehicle in theatre.
Thales is developing a smaller armored vehicle in response to the ADF’s Land
121 procurement program.
The fourth phase of Land 121 calls for the supply of 1300 “light protected
mobility vehicles”, and Thales has designed and developed its four-to-six-seat
Hawkei vehicle for this contract.
The Hawkei has been named by the ADF as the preferred vehicle, and prototypes
have been undergoing rigorous testing for some time. The ADF is also watching
development in the US of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and may even choose a
vehicle already on the market.
The 1300 vehicles to be bought by the ADF will replace around one third of the
ADF’s Land Rover fleet.
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