Counter-IED Variant Gives Thales’s Bushmaster Extra Edge

A new variant of the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle is currently being delivered from Thales’s Bendigo facility, destined for Dutch forces operating in Oruzgan province, Afghanistan.
The nine vehicles are equipped with an interrogation arm designed to help crews uncover, investigate and examine suspect items such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) from within the Bushmaster. Each arm is fitted with a camera and metal detector to assist in this activity.

The result of a request from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the new variant demonstrates Thales’s extensive systems integration expertise in Bendigo, as well as the flexibility of the Bushmaster as a platform for new capabilities.

When delivered, the company will have supplied 58 Bushmasters to the Netherlands, Thales says in a media statement released in Australia.

Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia’s Managing Director, said the increasing threats posed by IEDs were a driving factor in technological innovation.
“The Bushmaster’s flexibility allows us to incorporate new capabilities and systems, which offer troops increased levels of protection as they carry out their duties.
“We are very pleased to deliver this solution to the Dutch military, and welcome their close collaboration in designing, testing and manufacturing the new Bushmaster capability.
“Thales is the only company with the capacity to design and manufacture world leading protected mobility vehicles in Australia.
“We are very proud of the contribution to defence force safety by this unrivalled local expertise gained over many years of hard work, with many highly skilled employees creating what is a unique centre of excellence in regional Victoria.”

– The Bushmaster was developed with South African assistance and features an obscured blast-resistant, v-shaped monoque hull, visible in the illustration.