ADI Limitedâ€™s unique bushfire fighting vehicle, the FireKing, has won its first significant sale, with ForestrySA of South Australia purchasing 15 vehicles.
The sale follows extensive field evaluation of the vehicle by bushfire authorities across Australia and successful CSIRO testing which demonstrated its ability to withstand the extreme temperatures and radiant heat associated with bushfires.
FireKing is the worldâ€™s only firefighting vehicle with a crew survival cabin. Constructed from materials highly resistant to heat, flame and toxic fumes, the cabin was tested by CSIRO to withstand temperature peaks of up to 1000 deg C. During this testing the internal cabin temperature rose by only 19 deg C.
The FireKing, which also has exceptional four-wheel drive cross-country mobility has been designed and manufactured at ADIâ€™s Bendigo military and specialist vehicles facility in regional Victoria. ADI is Australia's major defense, systems and engineering company.
ADI managing director, Mr. Lucio Di Bartolomeo, said FireKing provided a level of crew survivability and inherent protection that commercial cab-chassis firefighting vehicles could not offer.
ADIâ€™s experience in the design and manufacture of military and specialist vehicles has made it one of a handful of companies in the world with the knowledge to develop a vehicle with such a high level of fire protection, he said.
Australiaâ€™s landscape and high temperatures mean we are one of the most bushfire prone countries in the world. FireKing is a ready-made vehicle that will not only save the lives of fire fighters caught in the worst of bushfires but would, if the situation demanded also be able to be driven through such fires to safety. It represents a total approach to firefighter survival.
FireKing can be used in a variety of firefighting roles such as a command or first strike vehicle that reconnoiters the situation and then coordinates the safe deployment of personnel and resources.
FireKingâ€™s design minimizes heat transfer, by the utilization of appropriate construction materials. Potential vehicle fuel sources are limited through fundamental material selection, which minimizes the chance of the interior or exterior melting or burning while providing optimum weather and radiant heat sealing of doors and windows.
We are investigating the possibility of using the technology developed for FireKingâ€™s crew survival cabin to retrofit existing commercial vehicles and provide them with improved levels of safety, Mr. Di Bartolomeo said.
While wheel water sprays provide protection for tires and wheels, the underbody is entirely enclosed, protecting all vehicle critical systems. With its military vehicle heritage linked to ADIâ€™s Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicle, FireKing also provides unparalleled maneuverability, endurance and a road speed of 100km/h. FireKing also has a tire inflation system controlled from inside the cabin.
The vehicle, which can accommodate four crew, has a 3000-litre main water tank of dedicated firefighting water plus a 700-litre reserve tank for vehicle protection. Foam system options are also available.
Mr. Di Bartolomeo said FireKingâ€™s success further emphasized the value to Australia of a domestic specialist vehicle designer and manufacturer.
â€˜Our Bendigo facility is currently supplying the US Army with 40 interim high mobility engineering excavators, a contract which represents the first volume sale of an Australian designed and manufactured military vehicle to the US Army.