Rumours of exports not confirmed

THALES Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins can not confirm reports the Bendigo-made Bushmaster has received orders from Japan and Indonesia.

News Limited reported on Thursday night that Japan would order 10 of the 15-tonne armoured troop carriers, Indonesia would take an initial order of three and Libya had expressed interest with an expected order of between 100 and 400. 

Mr Jenkins was unable to go into details about the export orders but said the rumoured reports were a great vote of confidence in the Bushmaster.

“It’s testament to the hard work of the Bendigo team, who have worked very closely with the ADF and a supply chain of around 120 companies, many of which are based in Victoria, over many years,” he said.

“We are encouraged by interest in the vehicle from other countries.”

Thales in Bendigo employs about 240 workers who have built 1045 Bushmasters, which were exported to The Netherlands, the British Special Air Service and more recently, Jamaica.

Federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said if the reports were true that it was “really exciting”.

“It confirms what we already know, that Bendigo creates excellent products,” she said.

“Thales is a significant employer for Bendigo residents.

“The Thales factory employs everyone from the design experts, to the person who puts on the final coat of paint before it’s rolled out.”

Former MP Steve Gibbons could not confirm the reports but said if they were to be confirmed it was great news for Bendigo.

“Thales have been actively pursuing more contracts, so if the reports are accurate I am delighted,” he said.

Last week Thales Australia signed a contract to supply 12 Bushmaster vehicles to the Jamaica Defence Force.

Deliveries will begin in 2015.

​The Protected Mobility Vehicle has been used in conflicts in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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