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Australia & S. Pacific | Britain/U.K. | Contracts - Awards | Rumours | Thales | Trucks & Transport

Bushmasters to Britain?

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ADF Bushmaster, Afghanistan(click to view full) In an Aug 8/08 release, Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement Greg Combet congratulated Thales Australia on recent orders for the Bushmaster blast-resistant patrol vehicle. The vehicles currently serve with Australia and the Netherlands, and have been deployed successfully in East Timor, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The Dutch order is nothing new; the replacement order was reported in June 2008. What was new was Combet’s statement that “The United Kingdom has also recently ordered 24 of the vehicles.” To date, the UK’s blast-resistant vehicles have all been variants of Force Protection’s Cougar: around 430 Mastiff 6x6s and Ridgeback 4×4 models. The Bushmaster fills a very similar niche, though it is more suited to patrol vehicle duties than the UK-adapted Mastiffs and Ridgebacks, whose modifications sacrifice visibility for protection. Even so, the purchase of a new vehicle type in a similar niche is unusual for a country like Britain, given the additional supply chain and maintenance issues that follow. Questions would arise concerning the purchase’s rationale, and the MoD’s relationship with their current prime vendor Force Protection. On the other hand, it’s also possible that the announcement was in error. Neither Thales Australia nor the UK […]

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