Production of the first of 43 Thales Bushmaster NZ5.5 protected military vehicles (PMV) for the New Zealand Army has commenced at Thales Australia’s Bendigo facility in Victoria.
Announced in July 2020 and scheduled to be delivered in late 2022, the Bushmasters will replace the Pinzgauer vehicles in NZ Army service.
The NZ5.5 is a unique configuration for New Zealand, and will come in five variants. “They are not a combat vehicle but will provide our personnel with greater protection while deployed on operations, and they’re used by many of our partners overseas,” NZ Ministry of Defence project team leader Gillian Rodger said in a release, referring to similar vehicles in service with Australia, Fiji, the UK, and the Netherlands.
“The team has worked with Thales Australia to adapt previous Bushmaster vehicle designs, so the Bushmaster NZ5.5 will be unique to New Zealand and best suit our needs. They’ll be able to undertake a range of tasks, from transporting troops, through to acting as mobile communications and command hubs.”
Capability Integration Lead, LTCOL Sara Harrison said, “They’ve been designed to provide high-level protection for our people against a range of threats found in the contemporary environment, including peace and security operations and humanitarian and disaster responses. This will in turn enable our people to better protect others.”
The release says the vehicles will be capable of operating as protected ambulances, and will also introduce networking and communications that have developed in partnership with the Network Enabled Army project team for use between vehicles and other deployed assets.