Sunday, November 02, 2008

Bushmaster six wheeled armoured vehicle

Photo montage of a Bushmaster 6wd armoured vehicleThe Australian-built Bushmaster four wheeled armoured vehicle has proved popular with the Australian, Dutch and British military. Perhaps the makers, Thales Australia, in Bendigo, should stretch it by adding an extra set of wheels to make a six wheel drive vehicle.

The current Bushmaster is 7.18 m long, weighs 12.4 tonne and can carry 9 passengers. Adding two extra wheels would make it about 1.5 m longer and allow for four more passengers. This would also allow for more cargo, or for the vehicle to operate on softer surfaces with lower pressure per tyre.

There have been concerns about the off road performance of some of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and their susceptibility to roll-over. As the Bushmaster has been designed as an armoured vehicle, it should be less susceptible to this problem than trucks with armour bolted on.

Normally a larger vehicle would require a larger engine, but the Bushmaster 6 x 6 could have a small electric motor and CSIRO UltraBattery added to make it a hybrid. As well as reducing fuel use, this woulda allow the vehicle to operate in stealth mode when stationary and at low speed, with the main engine off.

Oshkosh offer a Bushmaster 6 x 6 variant in the USA, but it is not clear if one has been built or tested. The image of a six wheeled Bushmaster on this page is a montage created from the Wikipedia photo of the Bushmaster.

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

According to "Protection on the move: Australia's Bushmaster evolves for operations" (Jane's International Defence Review, March 2009), Thales plan a six wheeled variant of the Bushmaster protected military vehicle. Interestingly they also plan a heavy 18 tonne four wheel version and a lighter 7 to 8 tonne one. This will make sense in terms of commonality of equipment, instead of having severl completely different vehicles, just have longer and shorter versions of the same design.