Thales Australia to deliver new Bushmasters to Australian Defence Force

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Image credit: Thales Australia

Thales Australia has secured a $160 million contract with the Australian government for the manufacturing and delivery of additional 78 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles for the Australian Defence Force. 

The contract was signed at Thales’ Bendigo facility in Victoria yesterday, 17 May. The vehicles will continue to be manufactured in Bendigo and are slated for rollout in 2024. 

Thales Australia CEO Jeff Connolly said the production of the new Bushmasters would directly support jobs in Bendigo. 

“Today’s contract signing is an important expression of support from the Government, not just for the Bushmaster vehicle, but also for the manufacturing capability and Australian supply chain that produces and sustains the vehicles,” Connolly said. 

“Work will begin immediately on the new vehicles, with a mix of troop-carrying vehicles and Command vehicles to be manufactured over the next 18 months,” the CEO added. 

The new vehicles are intended to restore Australia’s capability after it gifted Bushmasters to the Ukrainian government in response to its war with Russia. 

The vehicle is an integral part of Australia’s military capabilities and is used in security and stabilisation initiatives, including humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, both at home and abroad. 

The Bushmaster touts innovative design features that protect its crew and passengers from landmines and other explosive devices and small arms fire. 

Thales’ Bendigo facility has already manufactured over 1,200 Bushmasters and has exported to eight nations, including the Netherlands, UK, Fiji, Jamaica, New Zealand, Japan, and Indonesia. 

“In addition to our direct employment on site in Bendigo, the manufacture of Protected Vehicles supports around 360 jobs in our Australian supply chain with many suppliers across regional areas of Victoria and New South Wales,” Connolly said. 

“I am delighted to be in Bendigo to announce this $160 million investment in regional Australia, securing more than 200 local defence industry jobs for the city,” Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said in a separate release. 

“The iconic Bushmaster vehicle is supporting defence industry jobs in Australia, as well as saving lives in military operations around the world,” Conroy added.