Ukrainian soldiers praise ‘life-saving’ Australian-made Bushmaster vehicles


Ukrainian soldiers rate the Australian-made Bushmaster armoured vehicles and say they are good enough to LIVE in – but there are only a handful left

  • Aussie Bushmaster armoured vehicles are saving lives, Ukrainian soldiers said 
  • Extra inside armour credited with saving occupants of destroyed Bushmaster
  • Ukrainians also say the vehicle is almost comfortable enough to almost live in
  • They pleaded for more with 19 still in service as Australia sends heavier vehicles 

Ukrainian soldiers are singing the praises of Australian-made Bushmasters and pleading for more to be sent to fight off the brutal Russian invasion of their country.

The 19 surviving troop carriers are in constant action and under heavy fire in Ukraine’s east as the soldiers lucky enough to drive them label them life-savers.

Footage emerged in late May that showed the burnt-out wreckage of a Bushmaster sitting on an empty field on the border between Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine. 

A Ukrainian unit commander has now confirmed a Bushmaster was destroyed near the village of Trypillia but everyone inside the bombed vehicle survived. 

Vitaly, who drives and commands another Bushmaster, told the Sydney Morning Herald he was part of the battle and saw what happened. 

‘I was there, I saw that Bushmaster go in for the first time, bring the guys back and then go in a second time. And then it got hit,’ unit commander Vitaly told the Sydney Morning Herald

‘It’s armoured inside and that’s a big plus for this vehicle because it protects the safety and the health of the soldiers inside. 

‘If we had more vehicles like this, we would save more lives – and the lives of our soldiers are the most important thing.’

The Bushmaster (pictured) is an 11-tonne armoured military vehicle and is proving very popular with Ukrainian defenders since Australian sent 20 to the besieged country in April

The Bushmaster (pictured) is an 11-tonne armoured military vehicle and is proving very popular with Ukrainian defenders since Australian sent 20 to the besieged country in April 

This wreckage of a combat vehicle in eastern Ukraine was identified by Ukraine Weapons Tracker as one of the 20 Bushmaster vehicles donated by the Australian government

This wreckage of a combat vehicle in eastern Ukraine was identified by Ukraine Weapons Tracker as one of the 20 Bushmaster vehicles donated by the Australian government

It’s not just the safety of the Bushmasters that make the vehicle popular with the Ukrainian defenders compared to their Soviet-era troop transports. 

‘First of all, it’s very comfortable,’ Vitaly said. 

It has air-conditioning, it’s like a house on wheels. 

‘I would have lived inside. I stay in it all the time.’

The Bushmaster, nicknamed ‘The Bushy’, is an 11-tonne armoured military vehicle built in the Victorian city of Bendigo and is designed to deploy up to 10 soldiers to the battlefield.

The 20 vehicles sent to Ukraine were refitted for duty after being ‘retired’ having seen extensive service in Afghanistan and emergency relief zones. 

They were repainted olive green with Ukraine’s flag stencilled on each side.

Two ambulatory vehicles (one pictured on Friday) are among 20 retired Bushmasters which were repainted and refitted to be used in the Ukraine

Two ambulatory vehicles (one pictured on Friday) are among 20 retired Bushmasters which were repainted and refitted to be used in the Ukraine

The words ‘United with Ukraine’ were emblazoned on the vehicles in both English Ukrainian along with a kangaroo bounding next to a Ukrainian flag.

Vitaly made a plea for Australia to send more along with other munitions, such as the six light-weight towed howitzer cannons that accompanied the Bushmasters. 

‘We need artillery and ammunition for the artillery,’ he said.

‘We need howitzers, we need more tanks and armoured vehicles – a lot of armoured vehicles.’ 

A M113AS4 armoured personnel carrier is loaded onto an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland as part of Australia's military aid to the Ukraine

A M113AS4 armoured personnel carrier is loaded onto an Antonov An-124 cargo aircraft at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland as part of Australia’s military aid to the Ukraine

Thee M113AS4 is a longstanding ADF armoured fighting vehicle that is an advanced variant of the US M113 armoured personnel carrier which has been in service since the Vietnam war

Thee M113AS4 is a longstanding ADF armoured fighting vehicle that is an advanced variant of the US M113 armoured personnel carrier which has been in service since the Vietnam war

On June 9, Australia sent the first four of 14 heavier M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers to the Ukraine.

The vehicles were loaded onto a Ukrainian Antonov AN-124 aircraft at the RAAF Base Amberley just outside of Brisbane.  

The M113AS4 is an advanced variant of the American M113 model, which has been in service since the Vietnam war.

In response to requests made by Ukraine, Australia has pledged over $285million in military aid which also includes anti-armour weapons, ammunition, drones,  medical supplies plus other equipment.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said it showed Australia’s continued commitment to the Ukrainian people. 

‘Australia stands with Ukraine, and again calls on Russia to cease its unprovoked, unjust, and illegal invasion of Ukraine,’ Mr Marles said. 

Australia is also supplying the Ukraine with six howitzer artillery guns (pictured in Afghanistan) as part of a military aid package worth more than $285million

Australia is also supplying the Ukraine with six howitzer artillery guns (pictured in Afghanistan) as part of a military aid package worth more than $285million

Since launching its all-out assault on the Ukraine in February Russia has encountered staunch resistance.

It is now concentrating its efforts on securing the eastern area of Donbas, which broadly refers to Ukraine’s eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.  

The area was largely held by Russian-backed separatists before the invasion.  

The vehicle's design means it can serve a variety of other roles, including as an ambulance (pictured, Bushmaster armoured vehicle's prepare for deployment to assist flooded communities in March 2022)

The vehicle’s design means it can serve a variety of other roles, including as an ambulance (pictured, Bushmaster armoured vehicle’s prepare for deployment to assist flooded communities in March 2022)

What is a Bushmaster?

The Bushmaster Protected Military Vehicle (PMV) – or Infantry Mobility Vehicle – is an Australian built, four-wheel drive armoured vehicle that has seen action in several wars and is designed to carry up to 10 soldiers to the battlefield.

Nicknamed ‘the Bushy’, the vehicle is built to withstand any environment and protect troops from bomb blasts, and were widely used by the Australian Defence Force during the conflict in Afghanistan. 

The Bushmaster can carry mortars and other heavier weapons, and can also be equipped with machine guns and other military equipment. 

It can also carry enough fuel and supplies to operate for three days without resupply and has a central tyre inflation system allowing it to function with punctures. 

  • First produced: 1997
  • Number built: 1,195
  • Cost: $500,000 (AUD)
  • Crew: One driver, nine passengers 
  • Weight: 11 – 15 tonnes
  • Designed by: Australian Defence Industries (ADI)
  • Currently produced by: Thales Australia (formerly ADI)
  • Used in: War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, East Timor, Golan Heights, Iraqi Civil War, Syrian Civil War, Northern Mali Conflict
  • Used by: Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Fiji, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, The Netherlands. (Several others, including the United States , France and Spain, have expressed an interest)
  • Variants: Several versions of ‘The Bushy’ have been produced. These include: Troop, Command, Air Defence, Ambulance, Assault Pioneer, Mortar variant, Direct Fire Weapons, General Maintenance.

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