Fiji’s acquisition of 14 Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) from Australia will bolster its UN peacekeeping capabilities, with the vehicles set to arrive at Lautoka Wharf today.

The Protected Mobility Vehicles(PMVs) will be used to form a UN Standby Company at RFMF Headquarters Joint Task Force Command in Blackrock Camp in Nadi.

The PMVs will increase the deployability of Fiji’s peacekeepers and provide increased protection in war-like environments to ensure we bring our Fijian peacekeepers home.

They will support peacekeeping training for Fiji’s security forces and can be utilised for international and regional peacekeeping missions.

The PMVs were procured under the Vuvale Partnership with the Government of Australia and reflect Fiji’s shared commitment to peace and security.

The government said the fourteen Protected Mobility Vehicles will arrive at Lautoka wharf today and will be transported to Blackrock camp outside of peak road traffic periods to ensure minimal disruption to the public.

Fiji cabinet on 18 June approved a proposed purchase of 14 Bushmaster PMV from Australia.

The sale, originally announced in November 2023, will more than double the Republic of Fiji Military Force’s (RFMF) fleet of Bushmasters to 24 vehicles.

Australia previously sold Fiji ten Bushmasters from Australian Defence Force (ADF) stocks in 2017 for use with Fiji’s United Nations (UN) peacekeeping contingents.

Fiji’s decision to buy the protected vehicles was a response to the 2014 kidnapping of 45 Fijian peacekeepers deployed with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force.

While they were eventually released unharmed, the incident highlighted a need for the RFMF to better protect its deployed forces, which led to the selection of the Bushmaster PMV.

Fiji accepted the offer in February 2017 and the first seven vehicles were delivered to the Golan Heights in March, with the final three delivered to Fiji for training purposes in April of that year. The value of the deal was not disclosed at the time, reportedly at the request of Fiji’s then-government.

Like with the first ten vehicles, most of the additional 14 will also be deployed overseas to support Fiji’s UN peacekeeping commitments, while some will be retained in-country to enable training.

While the value of the 14-vehicle deal hasn’t been disclosed, the 2023-Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) notes that Defence expects to receive $2.8 million (US$1.86 million) in revenue associated with the sale over 2024-2025.

In total, according to MYEFO, Defence plans to spend $26 million (US$17.35 million over the four years between 2023 and 2027 supporting the vehicles, which will decline to $100,000 (US$66,000) annually thereafter.