Japan Buys Australian Bushmaster 4×4 APCs
Japan’s Ministry of Defense (MOD) continues its piecemeal acquisition of new equipment. On April 7, Thales Australia, the subsidiary of the multinational defense contractor Thales Group, announced four Bushmaster armored trucks were sold to Japan.
The Bushmaster’s delivery is expected to be completed by late 2014. It’s unknown if more orders are forthcoming or if Japan intends to pursue licensed production.
The MOD didn’t confirm the sale and it remains unclear what role the Bushmaster plays in the Self-Defense Forces. The JGSDF certainly has no shortage of transports and uses two proven indigenous vehicles for moving infantry, the Komatsu LAV and the Mitsubishi Type 96 8×8, which is similar to the LAV-25.
The Bushmaster entered service with the Australian Defense Force (ADF) a decade ago and proved itself in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Designed as a troop transport with generous dimensions (8 feet tall, 22 feet long), the elongated chassis of the Bushmaster allows it to carry eight passengers plus the driver and gunner. The Bushmaster owes its ruggedness to a turbocharged six-cylinder 300hp engine and wishbone suspension system, with maximum speed at 100km and a 800km range. Its basic armor protection is able to resist fragments and 7.62mm rounds.
The vehicles entry/exit points include three roof top hatches where passengers can observe the surrounding terrain during transit and mount weapons. Multiple variants of the Bushmaster exist but what truly sets it apart from similar vehicles are its storage compartments where gear and supplies are kept without cramping the passenger space.
Unlike the MRAP used by the US and other international forces, Australia brought home all its Bushmasters when it finally withdrew from Afghanistan last year. Australia remains its largest customer, using 800 units.
The Bushmaster is also in use with the Royal Netherlands Army and the Jamaican government is expecting 12 Bushmasters by next year. To date, 1,000 Bushmasters have been manufactured and sold.