ADF medical training supported by electric Bushmaster.

By: Robert Dougherty – Defence Connect.

Picture: An Australian Army Electric Protected Mobility Vehicle demonstrate the capability to provide power to enable a medical treatment team to deploy in the field at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane. Photo: CPL Nicole Dorrett.

The Australian Defence Force has rolled out a Bushmaster electric protected mobility vehicle to support field training at Gallipoli Barracks earlier this month.

The Bushmaster vehicle prototype, which uses electric propulsion technology, was tasked with supporting members of the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment undertaking simulated medical treatment in Queensland.

During the training, the ePMV was able to demonstrate its power storage and supply capability, enabling medical staff to work forward a role-two emergency hospital in an area of operations.

It’s understood there could also be applications to use the electric propulsion technology for greater thermal and acoustic signature management, exportable electrical energy, robotic and autonomous systems connectivity and tactical agility.

The ePMV was previously unveiled during the Chief of Army Symposium 2022 before being trialled and tested in a variety of conditions and by different units to test technological limitations.

The battery-powered prototype has had its engine and gearbox replaced with a pair of lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor driving each axle. It’s the first Australian electrification of a military vehicle and is about two tonnes lighter than a regular Bushmaster.

There is also more space between the driver and crew commander, and a modernised dashboard while the vehicle itself is expected to require less maintenance and be more reliable with no engine or gearbox.

The centre of gravity has also moved rearwards and down, according to Colonel Robin Smith, director of Army’s Robotic and Autonomous Systems Implementation and Coordination Office.

“That helps with stability, high-speed and cross-country manoeuvre, and safety under braking,” COL Smith said.

“It’s wickedly fast and we’ll be trialling speeds. But in theory it will do 0-60km/h in a little over three seconds. For a 12-tonne vehicle, that’s amazing. Up to 100km/h will take about 12 seconds where the normal Bushmaster takes 42 seconds.”

“The vehicle’s battery power could run the average Australian home for just over six days. It’s quieter and less warm, lowering the thermal signature, and it’s a software-driven vehicle so autonomy is easier.

“This (ePMV) one uses no fuel but if we do a hybrid, that will use a lot less fuel than a regular Bushmaster.”

COL Smith said his team wanted to “get this into the hands of soldiers and really test its real-world performance”.

The team is also interested in developing electrifying tracked vehicles, COL Smith said.


You may also like

Leave a comment