New Zealand Army to Purchase Bushmaster Vehicles to Replace Its Armoured Pinzgauer Fleet

New Zealand’s Coalition Government has approved the purchase of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauer fleet.

The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 vehicles will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. The procurement was announced by Defence Minister Ron Mark on July 8.

“The age and lack of protection offered by the old fleet make this another investment in New Zealand Defence Force capability that must be made in order to protect our service people,” said Ron Mark. “The need to replace the Army’s fleet of land vehicles was outlined in last year’s Defence Capability Plan, with the armoured Pinzgauer highlighted as a vehicle type reaching the end of its operational life and prioritised for replacement.”

“The New Zealand Army operates in diverse and challenging environments, so a multi-purpose, highly mobile vehicle has been selected, one that has proven its ability to provide a high level of protection. Funding of $102.9 million will deliver the vehicles, along with training, a desk top simulator, support equipment and infrastructure upgrades at Linton Camp. The versatility of this vehicle will increase the Defence Force’s ability to help our communities during a time of need such as a natural disaster, and contribute to supporting vital peacekeeping operations with our global partners”, the Minister added.

Along with wide use in Australia and other Five Eyes nations, the Bushmaster is already in service with New Zealand’s Special Operations Forces.

Bushmaster NZ5.5
Bushmaster NZ5.5 armoured vehicle. Photo via New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The new Bushmaster fleet will supplement other vehicles and provide new capabilities, such as a protected ambulance, that the Army does not currently have. The vehicle’s high levels of blast and ballistic protection makes it suitable for deployment as a troop transport, operating as a command and communication hub.

“This is the second fleet of protected mobility vehicles approved for purchase by the Government. It follows delivery this year of the Polaris MRZR fleet of side by side all-terrain vehicles that were announced last year to replace the quad bikes and other small vehicles used by the New Zealand Army,” said Ron Mark.

Deliveries are expected to commence in late 2022 with the full fleet beginning operational introduction from late 2023.

Bushmaster PMV

The Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle or Infantry Mobility Vehicle is an Australian-built four-wheel drive armoured vehicle.

The vehicle was primarily designed by the then government-owned Australian Defence Industries (ADI), and is currently produced by Thales Australia with a support contract provided by Oshkosh Truck following the acquisition of ADI.

Dutch Army Bushmaster
A Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle, with .50 cal. remote turret, operated by the Royal Netherlands Army in Afghanistan as part of Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) on 4 June 2008. Photo by Ministerie van Defensie (Nederland).

Bushmaster is an 11-tonne, 4×4 protected vehicle with a 4-tonne payload, designed to perform a diverse range of mission profiles. Variants include troop carrier, command, patrol, support, weapons deployment and ambulance. The vehicle is designed and built to protect up to 10 occupants, combining high levels of blast and ballistic protection with excellent off-road mobility.

The Bushmaster is currently in service with the Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Netherlands Army, British Army, Japan Ground Self Defense Force (JGSDF), Fiji Infantry Regiment, Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the New Zealand Army.

In service with six countries on four continents, Bushmaster has proven performance in protecting and saving lives during operations.

Pinzgauer/New Zealand Light Operational Vehicle (NZLOV)

The second and final tranche of 321 Pinzgauers (also known as LOVs – Light Operational Vehicles) were introduced into service during the autumn/winter of 2006. The vehicles replaced the NZ Army’s V8 Landrovers that were purchased back in 1982.

New Zealand Army Pinzgauer NZLOV
New Zealand Army Pinzgauer light operational all-terrain vehicle (NZLOV). Photo via New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

There are 8 variants of the vehicle, of which the majority are general service (GS) or command and control (C2) vehicles. There are also a number of ambulance, shelter and special operations variants in the fleet. Furthermore a number of armoured variants of the Pinzgauer were bought to provide increased protection should the situation require when deployed overseas.

The Pinzgauer is an off-the shelf light military vehicle that is required to carry out command and control, liaison, replenishment, special force, evacuation and administrative tasks. The vehicles require a high degree of off-road capability in order to operate in concert with the Light Armoured Vehicle (NZLAV) and Unimog trucks and have similar off-road capabilities.

Although the family of vehicles cover a wide area of responsibility, there is a high degree of commonality between all variants of the LOV.

Standard characteristics include:

+ Height – 2.045 m
+ Width – 1.8 m
+ Length – 5.308 m
+ Gross Vehicle Weight – 4950 kg
+ Max. Payload – 2400 kg (variant specific)
+ Max. Range – 800 km



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