The New Zealand Minister for Defence has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. Funding of NZD102.9 million (USD67.5 million) million will deliver the vehicles, along with training, a desk top simulator, support equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Linton Camp. Along with wide use in Australia and other Five Eyes nations, the Bushmaster is already in service with New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces.The new Bushmaster fleet will supplement other vehicles and provide new capabilities, such as a protected ambulance, that the Army does not currently have. The vehicle’s high levels of blast and ballistic protection makes it suitable for deployment as a troop transport, operating as a command and communication hub. Deliveries are expected to commence in late 2022 with the full fleet beginning operational introduction from late 2023.
“The age and lack of protection offered by the old fleet make this another investment in New Zealand Defence Force capability that must be made in order to protect our service people.The need to replace the Army’s fleet of land vehicles was outlined in last year’s Defence Capability Plan, with the armoured Pinzgauer highlighted as a vehicle type reaching the end of its operational life and prioritised for replacement. The New Zealand Army operates in diverse and challenging environments, so a multi-purpose, highly mobile vehicle has been selected, one that has proven its ability to provide a high level of protection. This is the second fleet of protected mobility vehicles approved for purchase by the Government. It follows delivery this year of the Polaris MRZR fleet of side by side all-terrain vehicles that were announced last year to replace the quad bikes and other small vehicles used by the New Zealand Army,” said New Zealand Defence Minister Ron Mark.
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 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 was initially adopted to distinguish it from a heavier wheeled or tracked armoured personnel carrier. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army, British Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Fiji Infantry Regiment, Indonesian Army, Jamaica Defence Force and the New Zealand Army. Later the Bushmaster’s designation was changed to Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV).