first of the Air Force’s new ambulance fleet has arrived at RAAF
Base Richmond. Thirty-three new ambulances will be delivered to
the Air Force over the next 21 months.
Squadron Leader Robert Rush, of Air Force Headquarters, said 26
ambulances would be delivered during 2004-05 and an additional
seven were expected to be delivered in 2005-06 as part of a project
established by the Commercial Vehicle Program within the Land
Systems Division of DMO.
Two additional ambulances, based on a Landcruiser chassis, would
support activities at Butterworth. One-day training courses for
driving training offi cers began on September 21 and will continue
until early February 2005 at several bases.
The courses cover operation and basic maintenance of the vehicles.
All medical staff will be trained on the new ambulances.
The training will include completing the newly-developed Defence
Emergency Vehicle Course. Maintenance personnel from the expeditionary
combat support squadrons will also be trained to support the ambulances
during deployed operations.
The new ambulances are required because the current vehicles have
reached their life of type and increasingly need maintenance.
“The vehicles should start to replace the current fl eet within
operational service by the end of the year after medical staff
have been trained and the Air Movements Training Development Unit
(AMTDU) has certifi ed the ambulance as suitable for transportation
on C-130H/J aircraft,” SQNLDR Rush said.
“Health Services Wing will be responsible for determining when
the ambulances can assume ‘online’ status for expeditionary operations.
“The ambulances will serve two roles: providing medical support
at Air Force establishments and providing medical support during
As such, they are being assigned to both the Area Health Services
and the elements of Health Services Wing.
A single type has been selected to perform both roles so that
all medical staff are familiar with the equipment that they may
be required to use on deployment.
“The vehicles are larger than the current fl eet to enable the
better provision of patient care while still fi tting within the
confi nes of a C-130.”
SQNLDR Rush said the new ambulances would carry the same medical
equipment as the current fl eet, although some improvements might
result from initiatives undertaken as part of JP2060 – Deployable
Medical Capability Project.
The vehicles will also be fi tted with equipment required for
deployed operations such as radio mounts, weapon racks, storage
space for webbing and armour.
One of the current ambulances will be kept at the RAAF Museum
to recognise the efforts of Air Force medical staff on operations
over the past few years, in particular East Timor.
Other current ambulances will be sold. SQNLDR Rush said the new
ambulances would remain in service until they were replaced by
tactical ambulances bought under Land 121 “which will hopefully
enter service from 2009”.
Vanessa Hill, AC James Godwin, ACW Ashley Coburn and AC
Gary Pyle, medics from No. 3 Combat Support Hospital at
RAAF Base Richmond, inspect one of the new ambulances.
by LAC Ben Dempster
5.64m x 1.93m x 2.44m
Mercedes 316 4x4 Sprinter (limited 4WD capability)
capacity: Can carry one patient and two medical attendants
at sustained speed of more than 130km/h.
by: Mader International, based in Penguin, Tasmania