Saturday, April 25, 2015

Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Army Medical Services unveils new Combat Ambulance

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has a new cross country Combat Ambulance based on the American-built Ford 550 chassis. The vehicle was put on public display for the first time yesterday at the Singapore Army's "A Day in the Army" event hosted by Headquarters Armour at Sungei Gedong Camp.

The Combat Ambulance brings improved rough terrain mobility for the Army Medical Services as its robust chassis, powerful drive train and suspension are built to carry stretcher cases out of harm's way safely, comfortably and speedily.

At the heart of the Combat Ambulance is its Advanced Life Support suite which is carried inside the air-conditioned rear cabin. This includes the following medical equipment:
* Patient monitoring device
* Automatic external defibrillator
* Hand-operated resuscitator
* Portable suction unit
* Transport ventilator
* Spinal board, head immobiliser and cervical collar
* Oxygen concentrator

The vanilla Ford 550 chassis was specially tailored for SAF service. Refinements include safety features such as a stretcher loading winch at the rear, dual rear cameras to help the driver check blind arcs while reversing, overturn escape doors as well as anti-slip flooring in the rear cabin.

Fully furnished as a Combat Ambulance, the vehicle measures 2,700 mm tall, 6,363mm long and is 2,385mm wide. It can travel 550km on a full tank, can climb a 60% gradient slope and is rated for a max slide tile slope of 30%. Unladen weight is at 3,607 kg. Gross vehicle weight is almost nine tonnes.

The finished product's peacetime configuration can be upgraded during a period of tension with add-on armour to protect SAF personnel from small arms fire and fragments from IEDs or artillery fire. Senang Diri understands trials for Level 2 STANAG 4569 ballistic armour panels were conducted in Australia and in Germany. 

The ballistic trials were complemented by more than 10,000 km of cross country and durability trials done in three continents. This includes a slalom test at Old Lim Chu Kang Road, a 1,000 km cross country endurance trial at Sungei Gedong (poor driver), a 1,000 km endurance trial at the Mungo National Park in Australia (lucky driver, almost like on safari) and a 8,047 km "durability test" at the Chelsea Proving Grounds in the United States.

As the Ford 550 did not fall apart after being driven almost to destruction, the chassis was deemed a suitable candidate to be modified for the SAF's specific operational requirements.

Senang Diri understands outfitting of the bare chassis took place in Singapore from 1Q 2014. The new vehicle allows Army Medical Services to seek, save and serve outfield casualties using a more robust vehicle than the ambulances now in its stable.

We extend a warm welcome the Ford 550 Combat Ambulance to the family of MID numberplates.

Note: Interior photographs of SAF vehicles were not allowed at the event. :-/

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First look at new SAF Ford 550 ambulance. Click here

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