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Update: 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, also known as Project Currawong, to enhance battlefield telecommunications. Project Currawong is led by Boeing.

Bushmasters integrated with the satcom systems are known as the Protected Mobility Headquarters on the Move (HQOTM) variant. This variant is a mobile version of the Currawong battlespace communications system.

Tom Minge, Boeing's Currawong programme manager, told Janes on 9 August that “the satellite terminals selected for the Protected Mobility HQOTM were built by L3 Harris and integrated into the platform by Boeing”.

“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.

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