14 July 2023

More Bushmaster armoured vehicles headed to Ukraine

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Australian Army Bushmasters configured as ambulances. Photo: ADF.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced overnight that Australia will donate an additional 30 Bushmaster protected military vehicles (PMV) to Ukraine.

Mr Albanese met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on Wednesday (12 July), and made the announcement straight after that meeting.

“I am pleased to have met President Zelenskyy again today and to inform him of Australia’s decision to gift 30 additional Bushmasters to Ukraine,” Mr Albanese said in a 12 July statement. “Australia remains steadfast in its commitment to support Ukraine.”

READ ALSO Australian command and control aircraft to provide airspace management for Ukraine aid flights

It had been thought in recent weeks that the Prime Minister would make an announcement of additional aid at the summit, and the Bushmaster donation comes just two days after he announced a Royal Australian Air Force E-7A Wedgetail command and control aircraft would deploy to Germany to support NATO’s operations in eastern Europe.

The latest donation takes the total number of Bushmasters Australia has committed to Ukraine to 120, and follows an announcement in late June that 70 other military vehicles including M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers and armoured trucks would also be donated.


A Royal Australian Air Force No.1 Security Forces Squadron Bushmaster. Photo: ADF.

In total, Australia has now made 13 pledges of military and financial assistance to Ukraine since Russia invaded the country in February 2022.

These include five separate lots of Bushmasters, six M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzers, 42 M113AS4s in two batches, a number of SYPAQ Systems Corvo drones, several packages of ammunition, a rotating contingent of 70 Australian Army trainers to train Ukrainian soldiers in the UK, and financial donations to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine to provide non-lethal military equipment and medical supplies.

Vehicles like the Bushmaster are in high demand in Ukraine due to their ability to transport soldiers or patients across rough ground. Their armour and v-shaped hull protects their occupants from small arms fire, mines and road-side bombs, as well as near misses from larger calibre weapons such as artillery or anti-armour missiles.

READ ALSO Government pledges additional military and financial aid to Ukraine

Thales Australia has built about 1200 Bushmasters at its Bendigo facility in Victoria, about 200 of which have been exported in small batches to the UK, Netherlands, New Zealand, Indonesia and Fiji. The government announced in May that it has ordered an additional 78 Bushmasters to keep the Thales production line ticking over and to cover those that have been donated to Ukraine from Australian Army stocks.

“We are proud to provide additional Bushmaster vehicles to assist the brave men and women fighting for their home and their nation’s sovereignty,” Mr Albanese said.

Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles added, “From the start of this invasion, Australia has stood by Ukraine in the face of Russia’s aggression, which is a gross violation of international law.

“The gifting of further military support is a tangible sign of our nation’s ongoing commitment to Ukraine and the rules-based international order,” he added. “We call on Russia to end to this appalling war so peace can be restored as quickly as possible.”

Ambassador Myroshnychenko

Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand Vasyl Myroshnychenko with a Bushmaster at February’s Avalon Airshow. Photo: LinkedIn.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand Vasyl Myroshnychenko posted his thanks on social media overnight, and said “Bushmasters are the underdog hero of the war: tough, versatile, agile and save lives.”

“Extremely grateful to the Australian political leadership for announcing another 30 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles, which now make a total fleet of 120,” he said.

“It’s been an excellent teamwork of the Ukrainian President, Foreign and Defence Ministers, Ukraine’s MoD Strategic Comms team, the relentless Australian-Ukrainian community and many others.

“Most importantly it would not happen without the Australian Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and the continuous support and encouragement from the Labor and Coalition MPs.”

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Aaaaah! Nuthin like a good war to boost sales of armaments!

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