New Zealand Army takes delivery of new Bushmaster protected vehicles

Australia’s Project Land 200 programme
Australia’s Project Land 200 programme is equipping multiple tactical vehicles in the Australian Armed Forces including the Thales Australia Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV). These vehicles will be connected to the new C2 capabilities being acquired by the Australian military. (Australian DoD)

The New Zealand Army has received the first batch of 18 Thales Australia Bushmaster 4×4 Protected Mobility Vehicles at the Trentham Military Camp located in Upper Hutt near Wellington, Defence Minister Andrew Little announced on 25 May.

The Bushmaster vehicles are part of a 43-vehicle package, worth US$62 million, that was approved by the government in July 2020. These will replace the army’s Pinzgauer Light Operational Vehicles. According to Little, the remainder of the new vehicles will arrive in batches throughout 2023.

According to the manufacturer, the Bushmaster is a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle designed and manufactured in Australia originally developed to provide the Australian Army with a versatile protected mobility vehicle.

“The arrival of the Bushmaster fleet represents a significant uplift in capability and protection for defence force personnel, and a milestone in the Government’s historic investment in our defence kit,” said Little.

“They are being tested and certified for use at Trentham Military Camp, before being sent to their home bases,” he added, noting that variants included mobile communications and command hubs, troop transport, and protected ambulances.

Apart from New Zealand, the Bushmasters are in service with the armies of Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, the Netherlands, the UK, and have also been donated to support ongoing operations in Ukraine.

“Our soldiers operate in a variety of challenging situations. The Bushmasters are multi-purpose vehicles that will boost their ability to help communities here in New Zealand, the Pacific, and overseas – whether they are on peace and security missions, search and rescue, or natural disaster operations,” he added.

The need to replace the army’s fleet of ageing land vehicles had been articulated in the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) Defence Capability Plan 2019, with the Pinzgauer highlighted as reaching the end of its operational life and prioritised for replacement.

by Jr Ng