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Bushmaster Always Under Development


PROTECTED Mobility Vehicle (PMV) specialists have been collecting data from a Bushmaster involved in an IED strike in Afghanistan since survivability upgrade kits were fitted to Bushmasters in theatre earlier this year.

The head of the six-man upgrade team that deployed to the MEAO earlier this year, Maj Eugene Tinning, Land Systems Division, said the damaged Bushmaster would provide valuable data on the effectiveness of the current upgrade as well as informing future improvements.

“We are continually evaluating what improvements can be made to make it safer for the guys to operate with,” Maj Tinning said.

Upgrade team member WO1 Simon Danger said the upgrade provided an increased level of force protection for soldiers operating with Bushmasters.

“In a mine blast or IED event the upgraded seats and floor will absorb a large part of the energy from the blast and in turn transfer less blast energy to the vehicle occupants,” WO1 Danger said.

“If there is less blast energy transferring into the occupant then the incidence of lower limb, back and spine injuries will be decreased.”

Before deploying, Maj Tinning and WO1 Danger prepared themselves by conducting trial fit outs.

“Because of the preparation we conducted in Australia, the fit out in the MEAO ran smoothly, allowing us to finish two weeks ahead of schedule,” he said.

Maj Tinning was responsible for the scheduling of vehicles and said the bulk of their work was done in Tarin Kot, where elements of MTF 3 and SOTG were based.

“It took the team roughly a day to complete each vehicle,” Maj Tinning said.

“When we got a vehicle we started by removing the old seating and seat frames. If the vehicle needed cleaning or any minor repairs, it was completed then we would refit the new seating and the flooring enhancements.

“We fitted a modified seat frame for the commander, driver and the crew members in the back and a new flooring system.”

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The new safety improved seating was collaboratively developed by the Land Platform Development Program, Land Engineering Agency, Land Systems Division and Stratos Seating Australia and the flooring solution was designed by Bushmaster manufacturer Thales Australia.

Originally published in Army newspaper.

Author: Cpl Zenith King

Source: Army Newspaper, September 29, 2011. p6

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