Australia gifts 20 all-terrain Bushmasters to Ukraine – here’s what the 11-tonne, 4×4 combat vehicle is capable of

New Delhi, April 8: Eight days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky specially requested it, Australia on Friday sent the first lot of Bushmaster armoured personnel vehicles to boost Kyiv’s defence capabilities in the ongoing conflict against Russia.

The first three Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) were loaded onto a C-17 at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Amberley, 40 kms south-west of Brisbane today.

The Australian government is gifting a total of 20 Bushmasters, including two ambulances, to Ukraine worth 50 million AUD ($38 million) following a direct request from Zelensky during his address to the Australian Parliament on March 31.

The 20 vehicles are painted olive green to suit the operating environment. Additionally, a Ukrainian flag is painted on either side with the words “United with Ukraine” stencilled in English and Ukrainian to acknowledge Australia’s commitment and support to the government and people of Ukraine. The ambulances will have the traditional Red Cross emblem.

“The Bushmaster was built in Australia to provide protected mobility transport, safely moving soldiers to a battle area prior to dismounting for close combat. The Bushmaster is well suited to provide protection to the Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers and Ukrainian civilians against mines and improvised explosive devices, shrapnel from artillery and small arms fire,” the Australian Department of Defence said in a statement.

The addition of these vehicles takes Australia’s military assistance to Ukraine to around $165 million. Canberra said that, in addition, it is delivering 70,000 tonnes of coal to power Ukraine’s resistance, on top of $65 million in humanitarian assistance for the people of Ukraine.

“The government will not disclose further specific details of delivery arrangements at the direct request of Ukrainian officials and our other partners,” the statement added.

Will Bushmasters be a game changer in Ukraine?

Fitted with radios, the Bushmasters will also have a global positioning system and additional bolt-on armour increasing their protection. The Australian defence ministry said that it will continue to work with the government of Ukraine to develop a suitable logistics support package, while training will be conducted through army video training with Ukrainian subtitles.

Developed by Thales Australia, the 11-tonne, 4×4 Bushmaster is a combat proven Multi-Role Protected Vehicle with a 4-tonne payload which has been successfully deployed by armies on operations in the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific.

According to Thales, its variants include troop carrier, command, patrol, support, weapons deployment and ambulance.It can rapidly deploy up to 10 battle-ready troops in all environments combining high levels of blast and ballistic protection with excellent off-road mobility. It is also fully air-conditioned and can sustain itself for a period of up to three days.

In service with six countries on four continents, Bushmaster carries one complete spare wheel and all fitted wheels have run flat tyre inserts and a central tyre inflation system allowing them to continue travelling with punctures.

The vehicle uses an armoured v-shaped hull to protect its passengers from landmines and other explosive devices. The sloped sides on the bottom of the hull act to deflect blast upward away from the vehicle.

Bushmaster’s welded one-piece shell is designed to protect troops against all small arms fire. Windows also carry similar ballistic protection. The Bushmaster’s fuel and hydraulic tanks are positioned outside the crew’s compartment to protect troops from possible fires. There is also a protected emergency fuel tank so the vehicle won’t be left stranded.

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