Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles
Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles

Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles

The Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp, issued a document on December 14, 2021, announcing his project for the Mid-Life Updating (MLU) of the Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle to the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Dutch Parliament). The vehicles were heavily used in the operations in Afghanistan and Mali, now they would have to be equipped with new technology in accordance with the changed threats. On 19 October 2007 during a fire-fight between a Dutch patrol and Taliban insurgents, a Bushmaster was hit by an improvised bomb. Although none of the passengers were hurt, the bomb damaged the front of the Bushmaster. The Bushmaster was sent to Multi National Base Tarin Kot (Kamp Holland) (the Dutch base) for repairs. The more than one hundred Bushmasters are to be modernized by the manufacturer Thales Australia by 2027. The first modernized vehicles of this type should be put into service as early as 2024.

Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles
Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles

In July 2006 the Dutch Government announced an urgent purchase of 25 Bushmasters to equip Royal Netherlands Army (Koninklijke Landmacht) units operating in Afghanistan. Due to the urgency of this purchase these vehicles were taken from Australian Army stocks. Additional Bushmasters will be built to replenish the Australian inventory. 23 Bushmasters were directly delivered to Royal Netherlands Army units in Afghanistan starting from 28 August. The remaining two vehicles were transported to the Netherlands to be used for training purposes. Twelve of the Bushmasters were fitted with a Thales SWARM remote weapon station before delivery. 9 July 2007, Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited was awarded a contract of A$5.8 million for the supply of remote weapon systems for use by the Royal Netherlands Army. The contract was awarded to EOS by Thales Australia for fitting to the Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicles manufactured by Thales for the Royal Netherlands Army. The order entailed 17 CROWS Remote Weapon Stations.

Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles

The Netherlands ordered additional Bushmasters on several occasions in 2007 and 2008. In January 2009, another batch of nine vehicles was ordered, these vehicles to be fitted with cameras, sensors and a grappler to find and destroy Improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Dutch ordered a further 13 Bushmasters in June 2008, taking their total order to 49 vehicles. At this time six Dutch Bushmasters had been destroyed in Afghanistan. A further 14 Bushmasters were ordered in June 2009. In August 2009, another 14 vehicles were ordered, bringing the total Dutch order to 86. Dutch special forces deployed as part of the Northern Mali conflict from April 2014 were equipped with a number of Bushmasters. May 2015 a Dutch Bushmaster was struck by an IED near Kidal. No one was hurt by this incident and the Bushmaster was returned to the Dutch camp at Gao. In June 2015, a further 12 were ordered. In July 2020 the Royal Netherlands Army took delivery of its first Multirole Electronic Warfare Bushmaster.

Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles

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. As the Bushmaster is 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. The high-hard steel specified for Bushmaster meant that it offered better ballistic and IED protection than existing aluminium alloy clad ASLAVs and M113. 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. Later the Bushmaster’s designation was changed to Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV).

Royal Netherlands Army to Upgrade Its Thales Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles