Australia acquiring more Bushmasters

July 5, 2012 at 12:03 PM
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CANBERRA, Australia, July 5 (UPI) -- Thales Australia is to manufacture more Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles for the country's military under a proposed acquisition program.

"The new Bushmaster vehicles will progressively replace the oldest Bushmasters in the present fleet and as well provide ongoing protected mobility for the command and control of our artillery," the Australian Department of Defense said.

Production of the 214 armored vehicles would begin this October.

In May 2011 the government announced the purchase of 101 Bushmasters, which are used by Australian forces participating in international military operations in Afghanistan.

The wheeled armor-protected vehicles come in six variants: troop transport, command, assault, mortar, direct fire weapons and ambulance.

They have a top speed of more than 60 miles per hour and an operational range of nearly 500 miles.

In March, the government said it planned to fund the manufacture of long-lead components for Bushmaster vehicles from Thales Australia.

Additional details on the new procurement were not disclosed, but the government said the units would be delivered in tranches of 50 vehicles.

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