Up to 10 new Bushmaster vehicles will be deployed to southern Iraq with the Al Muthanna Task Group to provide additional transport protection for ADF personnel.
Defence Minister Robert Hill said the state-of-the-art vehicles will be used to provide enhanced protection to logistic personnel deployed to the southern province this month. "The Bushmasters will be in addition to the 40 ASLAVs drawn primarily from 1st Brigade in Darwin," Senator Hill said. "The Army`s new Bushmaster vehicles are currently being prepared for deployment and are expected to be loaded for transport to Iraq later this month.
This will be the first operational deployment for the vehicles, although an earlier version was trialed in East Timor. "The vehicles are designed to transport troops and provide protection against mortars and small arms ammunition. They have also been designed to deflect the effects of a landmine explosion, providing a high level of protection to soldiers on the battlefield. "The Bushmasters on the Iraq deployment will also be fitted with enhanced protection against fragmentation. "ADI and the Defence Materiel Organisation have worked hard and consistently over three years to produce a good vehicle that is Australian designed and manufactured and that Army has great confidence in.
" Each vehicle is being fitted with a weapon station capable of mounting the Army`s light machine guns. The Bushmaster can maintain speeds in excess of 90 km/h on Australian roads with a range of more than 500km carrying nine infantry soldiers.