299 Bushmasters were procured, starting 2005 to equip the Australian Army’s 7th
Brigade and the Royal Australian Air Force’s Airfield Defence Guards, under a
A$316 million project. 26 vehicles were sent to Iraq, Operation Catalyst
operating in support the coalition forces.
Bushmaster can maintain speeds in excess of 90 km/h on Australian roads, with a
range of up to 800km carrying nine infantry soldiers with sufficient supplies of
food, water and ammunition to last three days. Each vehicle will be fitted with
a weapon station capable of mounting the Army’s family of light machine guns.
They have also been designed to deflect the effects of a landmine explosion,
providing unprecedented protection to soldiers in the battlefield.
Following troops' complaints about the lack of on-board facilities and
limited protection, Australian MOD gathered feedback from crews of the 26
Bushmasters on operations in the Middle East to influence improvements for the
According to Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Lieutenant General Ken Gillespie
Lieutenant General Gillespie said that Bushmaster vehicles already provide crews
with a high level of blast and ballistic protection, while future enhancements
are being tested by the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) and Defence Science
and Technology Organisation (DSTO). These tests cover ballistics, blast and
handling to assess the effect of armor weight on the safe operation and
capabilities of the vehicle.
In July 2006 the Government approved rapid acquisition of a protected, remotely
operated weapon station for Bushmaster, improving survivability and surveillance
capability for the crew. The first systems are expected to be fielded before the
year's end. Furthermore, a new prototype cooling system for the on-board
drinking water tank is planned for field testing in October this year. In
December 2006, Recon
Optical delivered 44 Raven R-400 such systems to be integrated into the first
batch of upgraded Bushrangers.