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Army September 16, 2010
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
N EW G-Wagon vehicles bound
for Army and Air Force were put
through their paces on and off
road by soldiers and airmen at
Puckapunyal in July.
The trials were run to determine
user configuration requirements before
they enter service next year.
Nine vehicles in a variety of four-
by-four and six-by-six variants were
used in the user evaluation, including
military working dog transports, cab
chassis, carryall and station wagons.
They were driven and tested by 15
Army and Air Force personnel over
more than 2500km for each vehicle.
G-Wagon project manager and OC
of the trials Robert Hudson, DMO,
said after completing a five-day
G-Wagon drivers' course, the 15 per-
sonnel moved off road.
"After driving the vehicles
from Puckapunyal to Wodonga and
back, the drivers deployed onto the
Puckapunyal range," Mr Hudson said.
"The vehicles were used as if they
were deployed operationally, driving
through difficult terrain during day
and night, using night vision and with
"They outperformed current in-ser-
vice Land Rovers by travelling places
they couldn't go, such as rocky and
rutted roads and steep terrain."
After each phase of the evaluation
was completed, drivers filled out an
evaluation sheet, with DMO observers,
on how the vehicle had performed.
Trial participant and driver Pte
Kaylene McNee, 26 Tpt Sqn, was
one of the first Army personnel to be
issued a G-Wagon licence.
She said she was impressed with its
on and off-road capabilities.
"They were much easier than a
Land Rover to drive and can be taken
through more difficult terrain too," she
said. "Inside the dual-cab version it
was spacious for passengers and could
cruise at a higher speed on the high-
She said there would be a lot of
satisfied Army drivers when the
G-Wagon arrived at units.
"It's an awesome and reliable vehi-
cle and I'm happy we are getting them
Mr Hudson said the feedback from
drivers during the evaluation was
"They said they are excellent vehi-
cles and a big improvement over what
the ADF has used in the past," he said.
The first batch of 30 vehicles will
be delivered to driver-training estab-
lishments in February next year.
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
THE development of an innovative new
device to be fitted to F88, M4 and F89 weap-
ons on exercises will prevent future injuries to
soldiers, sailors and airmen.
The bullet-trap blank-firing attachment
(BTBFA) developed by Thales Australia Ltd
is designed to catch a live round fired from a
weapon during a blank-firing exercise.
The BTBFA is made of steel, weighs 360g
and allows blank rounds to be fired.
The internal baffles and outer casing will
stop live rounds from exiting the barrel, prevent-
ing injury or death to the firer or bystanders.
DMO project manager Stan Williamson said
the new device would replace existing blank-
"The $10-million project involves the pur-
chase of more than 54,000 BTBFAs for the
ADF, with 2000 being manufactured each month
at Thales in Lithgow," Mr Williamson said.
"The first units to receive BTBFAs for F88s
were ARTC at Kapooka and the School of Inf
in early September, with other units to receive
them at later dates."
More than 35,000 F88 BTBFAs will be
delivered, with the remaining F89 and M4 vari-
ants delivered by November 2012.
G-Wagon proves its mettle
Testing times: Variants of the new G-Wagon tackle the Puckapunyal range during recent evaluation trials.
Photo by Graham Davey
New bullet trap to improve small arms safety
fitted to the
F88 Steyr will
of live rounds
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