SINGAPORE - The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) unveiled the latest addition to its fleet on Saturday (Nov 24): A fast-moving amphibious vehicle which can reach speeds of 100 kmh on land and up to 25 knots in water.
A four-man crew from SCDF's elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) will operate the Dart Amphibious Vehicle (DAV), which can be used for coastal firefighting and water rescues. It makes the transition from land to water in about 15 seconds, using hydraulic wheel-retracting technology.
It has been customised to include a portable water pump that can draw water from bodies of water and fire hydrants, as well as a remote-controlled monitor for firefighting.
Lieutenant-Colonel Chew Keng Tok, Dart Commander, SCDF, said its deployment would save about 30 or 40 minutes for operations that currently use inflatable boats with motors, which usually have to be inflated and carried into the water by eight men.
The DAV is expected to be operational by next March, while a "swimming robot that goes underwater" will be added to the DAV later in the year, said LTC Chew.
The robot will use sonar-imaging equipment - which maps out underwater terrain - for underwater search operations, reducing the risks posed to divers.
LTC Chew said the vehicle will be reviewed after a year before a decision is made about procuring two more DAVs. He did not reveal any details about the vehicle's cost.
The SCDF introduced the DAV to the public on Saturday during an SCDF parade and exhibition at the Singapore Expo. Minister for Manpower and Second Minister for Home Affairs Josephine Teo was the guest of honour.
Sixteen teams from Singapore and 10 other countries, such as Australia, China and regional nations, were also at the event, pitting their skills in firefighting and other emergencies against one another.