Australia selected the ADI Bushmaster 4 x 4 to meet its operational requirement for an infantry mobility vehicle (IMV) in March 1991, following an international competition.
The Australian Army specifically requires the vehicle to transport troops and equipment over long distances. It is not intended as a direct-fire combat vehicle.
A contract was placed, which included a low-rate production (LRP) phase of 11 Bushmaster vehicles that were subjected to an extensive series of trials from mid-2003 to mid-2004.
Volume production is expected to commence in the near future with a delivery rate of one vehicle every two days from 2005 onwards.
In addition to the baseline troop carrier, five other variants will be built: ambulance; direct fire; 81 mm mortar; engineer; and command.
The standard production-configuration Bushmaster will protect the crew against 7.62mm and 5.56mm ball small-arms fire, anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle mines that contain up to 9.5kg of TNT. This protection level is upgradable and configured to specific customer requirements.
To reduce overall life-cycle costs, standard automotive systems are used in the Bushmaster where possible and key suppliers include Caterpillar, Fabco, Meritor and ZF.
Standard equipment includes powered steering, full-time four-wheel drive, central tyre-inflation system, run-flat tyres, independent suspension, disc brakes, individual seats for up to 10 crew (including the driver), bulletproof windows, a split air-conditioning system and a hydraulic winch, which can be used to the front or rear of the vehicle.
The monocoque all-welded steel body of the Bushmaster has an internal volume of over 8m3. According to ADI,
this makes the platform flexible and suitable for a range of niche applications, including peacekeeping and mine detection. The FireKing variant is a unique bush-fire fighting vehicle that is now entering production for the civil market.