Improved Features Make it Candidate for MRV-P
At IAV 2018 in Twickenham today Thales launched the latest version of the BUSHMASTER protected vehicle. Dubbed MR6 (for Multi-Role) the new BUSHMASTER doesn’t look that much different from the old at first glance. But that hides the true facts, Kevin McNaughton, the company’s Exports Manager Protected Vehicles, told MONS.
Developed with internal funding as a “reaction to our own assessment of the market,” according to McNaughton, the MR6 is aimed at the export market as well as the Australian Defence Force – thought the choice of London as the launch venue at this particular time leads one to suspect it may be aimed quite specifically at the British Army’s MRV-P (Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected) requirement, which seeks replacements for a range of front line (but not battlefield) support and logistics vehicles by 2020. Questioned on the MR6’s suitability for MRV-P, McNaughton told MONS that “it exceeds the specified requirements in several respects.” Separately, other sources indicate that Thales has confidence it has the right price point for the programme, which means it will have to position itself competitively against at least the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) MOWAG EAGLE V and the Artech BOXER and possibly the GDELS OCELOT, the Oshkosh JLTV and the Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles/Achleitner SURVIVOR R.
With new driver and commander doors and a wider rear door providing better access, a reconfigured hull adding internal volume and taking the vehicle from a 2+8 to a 2+10 configuration, improved blast and ballistic protection, a Euro3-compliant engine, improved central tyre pressure management system, a new anti-lock braking system and redesigned storage, the MR6 off existing and potential operators significant innovation while retaining all the advantages of a proven vehicle, McNaughton emphasised.
Central to the redesign has been the insertion of an 8.6t axle, which significantly improves the payload capacity, according to McNaughton. On display at IAV 2018 was a protected ambulance version, but the MR6 can be made available in any one of a dozen specifically differentiated variants from troop carrier to command and control vehicle. This will make it a powerful contender for requirements across abroad spectrum of operational requirements and doctrinal expectations.