of the Desert
Aussie-made IMV a success on first
AMTG Bushmasters amid the wastelands of Al Muthanna province.
Photos by Cpl Cameron Jamieson
Cpl Cameron Jamieson
IT CAME, it saw and it has conquered any doubts about its abilities.
The Australian designed and built Bushmaster IMV has received
widespread acclaim among members of the AMTG in southern Iraq
following the debut of the production- model version on operations.
Convoy commanders, drivers and passengers all agree that the new
vehicle has mastered the desert conditions in style, thanks to
a wide range of features.
Lt Troy Ford, an AMTG cavalry troop leader, was impressed with
the Bushmaster’s ability to carry troops in varying terrain at
“The mobility it provides to the dismounted elements, be they
AMTG infantry or members of the Australian Army Training Team,
is excellent,” he said.
“We also use them on our road runs to our logistic base and they
can easily keep up with our ASLAVs.”
The automatic transmission and 300hp CAT engine are a big hit
with the drivers.
Pte Richard Kellington, a seasoned 1CSSB truck driver, said the
Bushmaster was one of the best vehicles he had ever driven.
“It’s a lot better than a Mack truck,” he said.
“You’ve got more protection and it has an automatic transmission,
so you just press a button and drive it.
“The handling is also good for its size and weight, and it can
tow an eight-tonne trailer like it was a half-tonne trailer. They’re
a good vehicle, and I hope to see more of them around the Army.”
Cpl Joshua Nicholas, of 5/7RAR, is typical of the infantrymen
who often ride in the Bushmaster.
“You can fit a whole section in it, and it some regards it’s similar
to working out of the APCs back home,” he said. “But it’s more
comfortable and spacious.”
Everyone agrees that in the desert the excellent air-conditioning
unit in the Bushmaster is one of the best things about the vehicle,
but there’s more to it than creature-comfort. “It’s hard to work
in 50 degree heat in body armour,” Cpl Nicholas said.
“Having an air conditioned vehicle to jump into after a task means
we can be ready for another task after about 10 minutes, and that
means an increase in our availability and endurance.”
AMTG transport troop leader WO2 Paul Bodsworth said his team of
drivers had been monitoring their Bushmasters to see how it performed
in the heat and dust. “They’re performing quite well,” he said,
“and I think they’re ideally made for the situation we are in.
They’ll go anywhere because they have a central tyre inflation
system, so we can cross sand and rocky features, which are typical
of the terrain here.”
WO2 Bodsworth said he believed that if the Bushmaster could operate
in Iraq without any major problems then it could operate anywhere
in Australia, however there could still be one problem for his
drivers when they return to Australia.
“All the drivers are quite impressed with the Bushmaster,” he
said. “They’re comfortable to drive and the suspension is great,
so I think the drivers will have a bit of trouble going back to
their trucks after driving this.”