Thales Bushmasters are going into production in Bendigo for export to the Netherlands, after the country’s Ministry of Defence ordered new vehicles from Thales Australia. The vehicles will complement the 98 Bushmasters previously purchased by the Dutch customer between 2006 and 2009, and will be delivered by the middle of 2021. Five vehicles will be the new medevac (Medical evacuation) variant and one will be an infantry mobility vehicle. The Netherlands is the second largest operator of the Bushmaster, in operational use by the Dutch Army and Royal Dutch Marines. In July 2006 the Dutch Government announced an urgent purchase of 25 Bushmasters to equip Royal Netherlands Army units operating in Afghanistan.
The Bushmaster Ambulance is in service with the Australian Army, delivering a reliable, battle proven capability that protects both the crew and transported patients. The well-equipped clinical white space is designed to facilitate on-board patient treatment and extend the golden hour for battle casualties. The large cabin and flexible configuration of the Bushmaster ambulance can accommodate up to 8 people. The rear part of the vehicle can accommodate a medical team, one stretcher patient and 4 seated patients. Alternatively, the 4 patient seats can be easily re-configured in minutes and without tools into a second stretcher position. All of these seating and stretcher positions offer mine blast protection.
The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built four-wheel drive armoured vehicle. The Bushmaster was primarily designed by the then government-owned Australian Defence Industries (ADI), and is currently produced by Thales Australia with a support contract provided by Oshkosh Truck following the acquisition of ADI. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army, British Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Indonesian Army, Fiji Infantry Regiment, Jamaica Defence Force and the New Zealand Army.
The role of the Bushmaster is to provide protected mobility transport (or protected troop lift capability), with infantry dismounting from the vehicle before going into action. As the Bushmaster is only lightly armoured, the term Infantry Mobility Vehicle (IMV) was initially adopted to distinguish it from a heavier wheeled or tracked armoured personnel carrier, such as the ASLAV and M113 also in Australian service. However, the superior high-hard steel specified for Bushmaster meant that it offered better protection than existing aluminium clad ASLAVs and M113. Later the Bushmaster’s designation was changed to Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV).