July 12, 2012: Australia is getting another 214 Bushmaster armored trucks. Some will be used for M777 155mm towed artillery (some to tow the guns, others to carry the command and control troops), while most will go to replace some of the oldest Bushmasters (acquired seven years ago) that have been damaged or worn out in service (especially in Afghanistan). With this order, Australia will have bought 1,052 Bushmasters.
In addition to buying more of the vehicles, those already in service have undergone several upgrades. For example, last year Australian Bushmasters in Afghanistan were upgraded with shock absorbing flooring material and seats. These blast absorption panels are actually a multilayer shock absorber that limits most of the blast shock from a bomb. Thus there are fewer casualties inside the vehicle and troops are more quickly able to respond to the attack. The panels result in fewer casualties overall and fewer severe injuries. The panels also act as sound-proofing and provide a more comfortable ride in general. These panels have long been used in boats, athletic equipment, combat helmets, and factory floors. Over the past seven years the panels have found their way into more military applications.
Costing $1.3 million each, the Bushmaster is based on a South African design concept, with a V shaped underside, to deflect mine and bomb blast. The 4x4, 15 ton vehicle has a crew of two and carries eight troops in an armored box. The vehicle is protected against 12.7mm machine-gun bullets, and bombs and mines containing up to 9.8 kg (21 pounds) of explosives. Reactive armor can be added for protection from RPGs. The vehicle has a top road speed of 125 kilometers an hour and a max road range of 1,000 kilometers. Lots of bulletproof glass is used and in the troop compartment there are firing ports under the windows. The vehicle carries a gun ring, on a hatch near the front of the crew compartment, which can mount a 5.56mm or 7.62mm machine-gun. The vehicle is a comfortable ride and Bushmasters are popular with the troops. The Netherlands, Britain, Spain, and France have also bought the Australian made vehicle.