Australia upgrades Bushmasters

Oct. 10, 2011 at 7:50 AM

CANBERRA, Australia, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- Australia has announced completion of upgrades to its Bushmaster vehicles in Afghanistan to provide better protection against improvised explosive devices.

Upgrades to the vehicles include the installation of new seating and flooring in the cabin to provide additional protection for commanders, drivers and troops being transported.

"The upgrades will help protect troops travelling in the vehicle by absorbing more of the blast impact," said Minister for Defense Materiel Jason Clare. "Bushmasters are a great Australian success story -- they are creating jobs in Australia and saving lives in Afghanistan.

"The threat of roadside bombs is always present and always changing. That's why we have to be always working to improve the protection we give our troops in Afghanistan."

Defense Department and industry engineers from Thales and Stratos Seating developed the upgrades based on data from Bushmaster vehicles damaged by improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and blast trials conducted in Australia.

In May, the government also announced that it would purchase an additional 101 Bushmasters.

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