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Tuesday, 24 June 1997
Page: 6196

Mr REID(10.44 p.m.) —I want to refer to an article which appeared in the defence supplement of the Australian on Friday, 20 June 1997. It was a very enlightening article written by Max Hawkins and was entitled `Vehicle project is still rolling'. I want to refer to that article because trials will start late this year to determine which of two tenderers wins the Bushranger project contract to provide the Australian Army with 455 infantry mobility vehicles.

After providing interim motorisation of the 6th Brigade with modified versions of Perentie, Unimog and Mack vehicles under Bushranger Phase 1, the second phase saw the contest whittled to two short-listed bidders by early 1996, after British Aerospace Australia withdrew its Foxhound contender. The two groups remaining in the competition are a consortium led by Australian Defence Industries Ltd, offering the Bushmaster vehicle earlier bid by Perry Engineering South Australia, and a team called Australian Specialised Vehicles Systems, located in Brisbane, bidding the Taipan, which derives from the proven Mamba series of mine-proof vehicles developed in South Africa.

The Bushmaster vehicle was initially bid by Perry Engineering, part of the Boral Johns Perry Group. During the summer of 1996-97, ADI Ltd, after reaching agreement with its main teaming partners, Stewart and Stevenson of the United States and the Timoney Technologies of Ireland, purchased the intellectual property rights to the Bushmaster tender from Boral Ltd. The Bushmaster is specialised vehicle providing high cross-country mobility and high-speed landmine-protected passenger transportation.

Mr Ken Harris, ADI managing director, said the vehicle was Australian designed using powertrain systems from the US Army's family of medium tactical vehicles, designed by Stewart and Stevenson, and a suspension designed by Timoney Technologies and manufactured and marketed by Rockwell, which is now Boeing. Australian National Industries, Australia's largest publicly listed engineering company, combined with South African company Reumech to form the Australian Specialised Vehicle Systems company on a 51:49 per cent basis to bid the Taipan, which has been fundamentally redesigned to meet Australian conditions.

This is going to be a very interesting trial period for these vehicles. Australian Defence Industries launched their bid some years back and are still in there. They have a very strong staff of highly skilled people in the Bendigo heavy engineering division. I look forward to ADI being successful in their bid to provide that Bushranger project contract to the Australian Army to provide those 455 infantry mobility vehicles. I know that the staff at Australian Defence Industries heavy engineering division are looking forward with great anticipation to the trials that will be conducted on that specialised Bushmaster vehicle.