Military and Strategic Journal
Issued by the Directorate of Morale Guidance at the General Command of the Armed Forces
United Arab Emirates
Founded in August 1971

2018-04-01

BUSHMASTER MR6 :The New Standard For Tactical Protected Vehicles

In the face of evolving threats in theaters of operation, Thales presented the new protected tactical vehicle, the Bushmaster multi-role 6 (MR6), at the annual International Armored Vehicles Conference (IAV). This new model builds on the Bushmaster’s excellent performance and offers enhanced protection capability to protect soldiers.
 
Designed and manufactured by Thales the new Bushmaster MR6 builds on operational feedback from the previous version of the Bushmaster with enhanced protection and reliability. The Bushmaster MR6’s “monocoque V-shaped” body allows the deflagration power to be diverted to the outside of the vehicle, protecting the occupants and providing maximum protection against landmines and improvised explosive devices. This type of protection has already proven itself in many theaters of operation in Iraq, Afghanistan or Mali.
 
Pierre Bénard, Vice-President in charge of Vehicles and Tactical Systems at Thales said,  “We are extremely proud to be launching this new Bushmaster MR6. It demonstrates our absolute commitment to saving soldiers’ lives through continual improvement, taking into account the experiences on the ground and the concrete needs of our customers.”
 
This new tactical platform has been specifically designed for digitized combat environments and is currently competing for the multi-role vehicle protected tender in the United Kingdom (MRVP). If this vehicle were chosen, it would generate jobs in Australia and the United Kingdom.
 
The Bushmaster MR6 is the new standard for tactical protected vehicles in its class. Offering more cargo volume, protection and mobility as well as a host of additional features and options, the Bushmaster MR6 meets the increased protection needs of armed forces.
 
Mobility
In terms of mobility the Bushmaster MR6 is now powered by a 330hp engine (300hp for the first version) and has the same maximum range of 800km. It is also equipped with a new ABS braking system and an improved central inflation system. The deep V-hull of Bushmaster MR6 is based on a 4×4 wheeled chassis. The vehicle is for the moment offered in right-hand driving configuration. Its cabin is able to accommodate a driver and a commander, while the rear compartment is capable of housing large volumes of payload or up to ten reconfigurable troop seats depending on the mission requirements.
 
Increased troop capacity
The vehicle has now an increased troop capacity with 12 people including driver and commander instead of 10 earlier. The vehicle can carry an additional 2 tonnes of payload compared to the Basic Bushmaster vehicle. In the ambulance role, the vehicle accommodates one stretcher with four passengers, or two stretchers with two military medical corps and the required medical kits.
 
The protection level has been increased and has improved blast and ballistic protection. The main visible difference between the Bushmaster MR6 and the Bushmaster is that the MR6 has no windows on the side of the troop compartment and a true front door.
 
The original Bushmaster is an Australian success story.  Most importantly, the Bushmaster has saved many soldiers lives around the world, being a highly mobile, ballistics, mine and improvised explosive device (IED) blast resistant protected mobility vehicle (PMV). 
 
Protection packages
Bushmaster has protected and saved lives during numerous incidents including offensive operations, ambushes and roadside bombings involving IED, FSP and RPG attack and comes with a range of field upgradeable protection packages depending on the threat environment. Anti-ballistic materials are used in the vehicle armour to provide protection against ballistic armour-piercing projectiles and bullets.
 
 The Bushmaster’s large internal volume within its monocoque body can be easily adapted to meet multi-role requirements even in the field.  In addition, its onboard rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) armour system protects the troops against RPGs fitted with high-explosive warheads.
 
The survivability can be further increased with the addition of a firefighting system.
 
Intense testing
The Australian Army has tested the vehicle over thousands of kilometres in the extreme climatic conditions and terrain from sub-zero mountain areas to desert and tropical conditions in north Australia. The Australian Army awarded a contract to ADI for 300 Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles in six variants: troop transport, ambulance, direct fire, mortar, engineer and command.
 
With a road cruise speed of 100km/h, the Bushmaster transports troops, quickly and comfortably and is suitable for deployment in complex, diffuse and lethal operational environments such as Iraq. The first of 300 Bushmaster vehicles was delivered to the Australian Army in August 2004 and the vehicle was operationally deployed to Iraq in April 2005 and Afghanistan in September 2005. Deliveries continue today, with over 1000 ordered by the ADF.
 
The troop carrier variants will be fitted with additional composite armour, remote weapon stations, and Thales’s market-leading SOTAS intercom system.  This contract, whose value remains confidential, follows other Bushmaster exports to Japan and Jamaica, as well as other SOTAS exports to various countries worldwide.
 
Remote weapons station
The new Bushmaster MR6 can be equipped with improved remote weapon station (RWS), armed with a 5,56 mm or 12,7 mm machine gun. It  can be also armed with three pintle mounted system for 5.56 mm or 7.62 mm machine guns. Weapon options for the RWS include a 30mm cannon and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher, in addition to guided rockets and missiles.
 
The troop compartment is fitted with ten face-to-face ergonomically designed seats with full four-point harness seat belts. The top of the crew compartment is fitted with three roof hatches with locking handles to provide protection against ambush and an alternative escape route.
 
Wire cutters are installed on the roof on both sides of the vehicle to protect soldiers exposed above the roofline. The fuel and hydraulic tanks are located outside the crew compartments to minimise fire risk.
 
A 270 litre drinking-water tank is installed under the floor of the crew compartment, contributing to crew safety in the event of a landmine explosion. The armour protected seating provides additional protection against spinal injuries.
 
The Bushmaster is transportable in C-130 Hercules aircraft for rapid deployment in forward areas of operation. In option, the Bushmaster can be equipped with run flat system, NBC protection system, and 10-ton hydraulic winch.
 
Protection levels can be increased with upgrade kits and can be configured with various weapon systems, sighting and vision systems as well electronic architectures to aid to the vehicle mission performance.
 
 Command and control
The armoured personnel carrier incorporates command and control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C4I) systems, as well as a GVA-compliant integral computing system (ICS), which allows the crew to manage weapon system and sensors.
 
Engine and  Driver’s cabin
The Bushmaster MR6 multi-role armoured vehicle is powered by a six-cylinder 330hp engine, which is coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission system comprising six forward gears and one reverse gear.
 
Its engine is designed to produce less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions than previous models and is certified to the EURO-3 European standard for air quality. The vehicle also features an improved heavy duty suspension, which offers smooth drive even in rough terrains. An anti-lock braking system (ABS) is installed to prevent wheel lock-up and improve control and overall vehicle safety.
 
Additionally, the MR6’s improved central inflation system is intended to further increase the vehicle’s performance on all road conditions. The vehicle can attain a speed of more than 100km/h and a maximum range of 800km. It is also capable of fording a water depth of 1.5m.
 
The driver and crew cabin areas are ergonomically designed for comfortable travel in varied terrain and harsh environments, minimising crew fatigue and allowing the crew to rest or concentrate on the mission. The engine noise level inside the cabin and crew compartment is very low.
 
 The driver’s cabin is fitted with a large windscreen and side windows for all-round visibility. The dashboard too is ergonomically arranged, with easily readable and night-vision-goggle-compatible cockpit instrumentation.
 
The driver can use the push-button control central tyre inflation system to adjust the tyre pressure while on the move to suit the terrain type and to keep the tyres inflated with limited punctures.
 
A double wishbone independent suspension system provides good cross-country mobility across difficult terrains. The complete powerpack, (engine, automatic transmission, cooling system) can be easily replaced in the field without special tools.
 
  Thales is a strategic industrial partner of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and major defence operations around the world. Thales in Australia supplies and sustains a range of products for the ADF including munitions, weapons, optronics, protected vehicles, mission packages, and command, control, communications and computer (C4) systems.
 
Now in service in 8 countries, the Bushmaster is used in a dozen configurations to fulfill different types of missions. The new Bushmaster MR6 will be available in 12 configurations, including troop carrier, command vehicle, mortar carrier, maintenance vehicle, ambulance, and counter-IED / EOD or route clearance vehicle. It shares a high level on commonality reducing the training and logistics footprint.
 
Text/Photo credit
 

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