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Australian Army upgrades Bushmasters with satcom capabilities

The Australian Army has equipped some of its Bushmaster 4×4 protected mobility vehicles with satcom systems as part of an ongoing programme to enhance battlefield telecommunications. (Capt Annie Richardson, Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army has integrated satellite communication (satcom) systems into some of its Thales Australia Bushmaster 4×4 protected mobility vehicles, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said on 3 August.

An undisclosed number of Bushmasters have been equipped with the satcom systems to enable “stable and reliable communication services, even while commanders are on the move in the battlespace”, the DoD said.

The initiative is part of Australia's Project Land 2072 Phase 2B to enhance battlefield telecommunications. Bushmasters integrated with the satcom systems are known as the Protected Mobility Headquarters on the Move variant.

“Enabling brigade commanders to have the flexibility to determine the deployment strategy, the satellite-enabled Bushmasters will also have options such as designating one vehicle as a commander's tech hub while others support specific squadrons,” saidproject manager Dafydd Gwynn-Jonesin a DoD press release.

Bushmasters fitted with the capability can facilitate communication of both classified and non-classified information and enable soldiers to choose between various satellite frequencies to transmit data using options including email and chat, the DoD said.

The systems are compatible with regular radios, including AN/PRC-150(C) high-frequency (HF) and legacy ultra-high frequency (UHF) radios. “Furthermore, the system will integrate with future radio models such as the AN/PRC-160s and -158s, ensuring compatibility with evolving communication technologies,” the DoD added.

According to the DoD, the Bushmasters are collaborating with the Army Headquarters Land Network Integration Centre and the new Interim Battle Management System to strengthen the army's communication capabilities.

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