Infantry: December 2, 2000


The Australian Army has completed its user trials of the new Bushmaster combat truck. A total of 341 of these trucks are on order to convert three battalions of light infantry into mobile infantry to patrol Australia's unwatched coasts and outback regions. Most of these will be the Infantry Mobility Troop Vehicle type, capable of carrying 10 troops and enough supplies to operate for three days. Other variants include command post, engineer, mortar, ambulance, and heavy direct-fire weapon versions. Each of the 4x4 trucks weighs 15 metric tons, has a road range of 1,000km, and can travel up to 100km/hour on roads. The troops are carried inside an armored box to protect them from small arms fire as well as shell fragments. Since the first trials, several improvements have been added, including more armor and a fire-suppression system. The first Bushmasters will reach troops late next year, although most of the prototypes are already in service with Australian troops in Timor.--Stephen V Cole


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