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Australia advances 'battlefield electrification' capability with new Bushmaster prototype

Australia's new Bushmaster ePMV is pictured above after being unveiled at the Chief of Army Symposium 2022 in Adelaide. In the background is a Bushmaster ePMV fitted with ruggedised solar panels. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has unveiled the Bushmaster electric protected military vehicle (ePMV) reflecting an effort, it said, to ensure the Australian Army is ‘future ready'. The prototype was showcased on 10 August at the Chief of Army Symposium, a three-day event in Adelaide.

The vehicle was developed by the Australian Army's Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation & Coordination Office (RICO), working in collaboration with an Australian company, 3ME Technology, which specialises in lithium-ion battery systems for mining and military vehicles, and the DoD's Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG).

Colonel Robin Smith, the director of RICO, told Janes in an interview, “This prototype is a normal Bushmaster in terms of its protective hull. We removed its engine, gear box, and drive train, and we replaced those with two electric motors, a battery pack, and the voltage control system.”

He said the prototype's batteries are positioned “in the front, where the engine used to be” and in the hull underneath the vehicle. “What we have now,” he said, “is a prototype that maintains the structural integrity of the original platform, keeping it road legal, while we gain the opportunities that an all-electric platform gives us”.

Col Smith added that while the final specifications of the vehicle will be subject to testing, the prototype has an operational range – with full battery capability – of between 300 and 350 km. This range is similar to the standard Bushmaster under certain conditions, he said.

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