To meet the challenge of evolving battlefield threats Thales has launched its new protected vehicle, the Bushmaster Multi Role 6 (MR6). The MR6 is a development of the familiar Australian Army vehicle and was developed for the UK’s Multi-Role Vehicle Protected (MRVP) program. It features improved blast and ballistic protection, a 330hp engine, and has a maximum range of 800km. The MR6 also has increased capacity, up from 10 to 12 troops including the driver and commander. The Bushmaster’s true “deep V-Hull” deflects blast energy away from the crew providing tremendous protection against land mines and improvised explosive devices.
Building on lessons learned from the original Bushmaster deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and East Timor, the MR6 includes enhanced levels of blast, ballistic, RPG and fire protection and a “deep V” hull, which Thales says is designed to blast energy away from the crew and protect the complete driveline. A Thales spokesperson at IAV said the vehicle is designed to meet multi-role vehicle requirements for the next 15-to-20 years. the MR6 can be used in more than a dozen different configurations, including as a command and control vehicle, counter-IED route clearance, troop carrier and maintenance vehicle. The MR6 features a flexible configuration for storage and improved central tyre inflation for enhanced tactical mobility.
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 air transportable by C-130 Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III and Mil Mi-26 aircraft. The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Netherlands Army, Indonesian Army, British Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force, Fiji Infantry Regiment, Jamaica Defence Force and the New Zealand Army.
The British Army acquired 24 Bushmasters in April 2008 specifically for use in Iraq to support Task Force Black and United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) operations around Basra. The heavily modified vehicles, known as the Escapade, were used to provide armoured transport for strike teams. Features included an increased armour package, bull-bar, ECM and anti-IED suites, and a CROWS RWS fitted with an M2 .50 calibre machine gun. The UKSF had been using an armoured hull protected vehicle in Afghanistan the Supacat HMT 400 since 2003. In 2016, the Escapade was used in the Battle of Mosul during the Iraqi Civil War. In 2017, the Escapade was used in the Battle of Raqqa during the Syrian Civil War.