New Recruits for Our Ashes Team

A New Paradigm for Armoured Operations within Australia
A Work in Progress – Sept. 2007 Edition

CAPT Graham Bates RAAMC

&

Mr. Daryl Rigby

Portland VIC 3305 Tel: Mob:
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03 5523 2313 0418 569000
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Tel:

03 5523 2762

Mob: 0438 589232 Email: sue_ireland@msn.com
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Email: icebergs@internode.on.net

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Note: All references used in this document have been gathered from Open Source Material and are readily available to the Public via the Internet.

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Version 2

September, 2007

Copyright - Graham Bates & Daryl Rigby 2007

P O Box 1254 Portland Victoria 3305

Version 1 submitted to LTCOL Mary Brandy, on 30th April, 2007.
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Version 1 submitted to Bushfire CRC on 30th April, 2007.
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Disclaimer : Whilst the references used in this document have been sourced from many official Government Authorities, the analysis and recommendations of the authors does not reflect current Policy of the Commonwealth, States, Territories, or the Department of Defence.
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The authors also declare that they have no pecuniary interest in any of the businesses or corporations mentioned in this paper. Our mandate for this paper is for the improvement of firefighting tactics and the safety of those involved in protecting the nation’s communities and assets.

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Glossary __________________________________________ 4
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Executive Summary __________________________________ 5
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Introduction _______________________________________ 6
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Background – Armoured Warfare ________________________ 7
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Recent Wildfire History _______________________________ 8
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Firefighter OH & S __________________________________ 10
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Fire Fighting – Current CFA Assets ______________________ 16
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CFA Tactics – Graphical Elements _______________________ 19
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Current Situation – ADF Developments ___________________ 20
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The New Situation – Texoga Tech Developments ____________ 22
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Additional Tracked Support – BAE Systems ________________ 26
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4WD / AWD Support – Thales Fire King ___________________ 28
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The Armoured Strike Team ___________________________ 32
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Composition of Armoured Strike Teams __________________ 35
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The Costs of Bushfires _______________________________ 36
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Reserved _________________________________________ 37
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Current Firefighting Tactics ___________________________ 38
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A Blueprint for New Firefighting Tactics __________________ 39
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Rationale for New Firefighting Tactics ____________________ 40
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Jumbo Fire Tank Specifications (AFFV) ___________________ 43
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M113 Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle Specifications (TFFV) Specs _ 47
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About the Authors __________________________________ 49
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Conclusion _______________________________________ 50
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The need for further research _____________________________ 50
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Glossary
ADF APC AST AFV AFFV CASEVAC CFA DSE Fireground Australian Defence Force Armoured Personnel Carrier – M113 model. Australia – UN Classification Armoured Fighting Vehicle – Tank Armoured Fire-Fighting Vehicle – Jumbo Firetank Casualty Evacuation. Country Fire Authority – Victoria. Department of Sustainability and Environment – Victoria. Terrain under bushfire/wildfire threat & subject to the operational control of the CFA/DSE Authorities – whereby these authorities have total operational & legal control on ingress and egress of personnel and equipment. Nuclear, Biological & Chemical. Order of Battle – Military Units and Assets that are used in war-fighting. Tracked Escape & Evacuation Vehicle – M113 APC. Tracked Fire-Fighting Vehicle – M113 APC variant. That part of the fireground that has been burned out by the bushfire/wildfire – it may burn & smoulder for some time after the firefront passes, or even reignite if hotspots are not extinguished.

NBC ORBAT TEEV TFFV The Black

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Executive Summary
This document provides a strategic plan to address the increasing threat of bushfires / wildfires within Australia. This strategy details the development of Armoured Firefighting Units or Armoured Strike Teams as follows; 1. 2. 3. Retention of the Armoured Fighting Vehicle (AFV) Leopard 1 AS3 units that are gradually being phased out of the AST ORBAT. Demilitarising these vehicles and then converting them into Armoured Fire-Fighting Vehicles (AFFV) suitable for fighting bushfires and wildfires. Apply similar modifications to M 113 APCs, enabling use as Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicles (TFFV)s and Tracked Emergency & Evacuation Vehicles (TEEVs) for transporting crews or the CASEVAC of bushfire victims. Acquire additional 4WD/AWD Fire King vehicles, already proven & deployed by the S.A. Forestry Dept. Retain adequate workshop, transportation, spare parts & maintenance assets to service and maintain survivability & operability in the field. Develop new Doctrine via training programmes to implement and test new tactics required for the new role of Armoured Strike Team crews in fighting fires. Attract former ADF or CFA members with the relevant skillmix to operate these vehicles in bushfire operations. Integrate and Develop links with the various existing firefighting services enabling the cohesive development toward a “Combined Arms” approach to fighting fires. Reduce the strain, fatigue and low morale effects that were reported in the ABC 7:30 Report on the recent Gippsland Fires of 2006/2007. 1
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4. 5. 6.

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Reduce the likelihood of litigation against State and Federal Authorities as reported in The Age. 2
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1
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ABC 7:30 Report Transcripts of 15 JAN, 2007 website: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s1827411.htm
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2
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The Age Newspaper report “Farmers sue State..” website: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/farmers-sue-state-over-bushfires/2007/03/22/1174153243088.html
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Introduction
The release of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report has provided an insight to events with serious ramifications for an unprepared Australia.
“Already the worldʹs driest inhabited continent, Australiaʹs outback interior will  see  temperatures  rise  by  up  to  6.7  degrees  Celsius  by  2080,  the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said.  ʺAn increase in fire danger in Australia is likely to be associated with a reduced  interval  between  fires,  increased  fire  intensity,  a  decrease  in  fire  extinguishments,ʺ  sections  of  the  report  leaked  to  Australian  media  said  yesterday.” 3
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The recent summer 2006 fires in Gippsland Victoria burned out over 1 million hectares of forest and farmland. This clearly highlights the increasing risk of devastating fires in the Southern parts of Australia. The past summer fires have not suddenly appeared ‘out of the blue’, they have been assessed as follows.
“The impact of periodic extreme fire weather is amplified by the “corner effect”  as  cold  fronts  round  the  eastern  boundary  of  Victoria  and  violent  southerly  changes stream northwards, sometimes governed by stationary high pressure  cells in the Tasman.”   “The combined effect is to place Victoria into one of the acknowledged most fire  dangerous parts of the globe. From a community perspective, this physical and  meteorological  arrangement  has  historically  manifested  itself  in  severe  fire  seasons  through  substantial  loss  of  life,  sometimes  involving  many  fatalities,  heavy loss of assets and extensive areas subjected to intense fire.”  “It  is  now  recognised  globally  that  effective  rural  fire  management  must  be  founded  on  a  strong  partnership  between  the  combat  agencies  and  the  communities they strive to protect. Victoria has been a national leader in this  arena, introducing Community Fireguard following the Ash Wednesday fires  in  1983,  but  substantially  building  upon  and  improving  that  program  ever  since.” 4
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It is the purpose of this document to enhance and increase the effectiveness of this partnership between the ‘firefighting combat agencies’ so that we can develop better tactics in fighting fires within Australia.

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Web site with Reuters quoted as Source : http://archive.gulfnews.com/articles/07/03/31/10114982.html
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Website: CFA Debriefs from bushfires in Victoria from Dec 2005 to early 2006: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/documents/debrief_outcomes_sig_fires_dec05_jan06.pdf
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Background – Armoured Warfare
The first successful use of Armour by Australian Commanders occurred in World War I in the campaigns on the Western Front. Development of Armoured Warfare Strategies and tactics was a result of the stalemate and significant loss of life created by the defensive trench systems that were used across the entire front. An Australian Commander who saw the need for a new style of warfare that could be successful against defensive lines of trenches was General Sir John Monash. His assessment as the key to success may be summarized as follows:
“…..the true role of infantry was not to expend itself upon heroic physical effort,  not  to  wither  away  under  merciless  machine‐gun  fire,  not  to  impale  itself  on  hostile bayonets,  …..but on the contrary,…..  …to advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible  array  of  mechanical  resources,  in  the  form  of  guns,  machine‐guns,  tanks,  mortars and aeroplanes; to advance with as little impediment as possible; to be  relieved as far as possible of the obligation to fight their way forward.”  5
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Whilst many believe that the tactics that Monash developed and prosecuted would only apply in war-fighting, it is perhaps time to apply some of his wisdom toward more successful methods in fighting bushfires and wildfires in our homeland. In fire-fighting tactics, we are already using a large number of ‘mechanical devices’, such as ‘ fire trucks/tankers ’ and ‘aeroplanes’ like firebombers and helicopters , (such as Elvis ), to successfully defeat wildfires – but, it is now time to introduce tanks!
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The fact that we need to develop a more effective fire-fighting capability is clear from the disastrous events over the past several years.

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Website of the Australian War Memorial – Biography of General Sir John Monash: http://www.awm.gov.au/1918/people/genmonash.htm
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Recent Wildfire History
The continuing low-rainfall events that have been dramatically affecting the temperate zones in Australia’s Eastern, Southern and Western parts has created some of the worst bushfire and wildfire conditions in our history. As at August 2007, we are still experiencing below average rainfall over much of the continent. If this situation continues, the 2007/2008 summer season will provide even higher levels of fire danger for towns, cities and rural communities across the nation. Headline events are outlined as follows:
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Canberra Wildfires of 2003
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The Canberra wildfires have become one of the most controversial in Australia’s history. While poor planning and leadership significantly contributed to the destruction of 500 homes, our available fire-fighting assets were almost completely overwhelmed in battling this massive firestorm. Full details of an ABC Investigation may be located through transcripts at this website. 6
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The 800 page report of “The Canberra Firestorm”, by Coroner Maria Doogan, is an excellent reference highlighting many issues about this Emergency and Fire Service failure. It is evident from transcripts that inadequate fire trail access and maintenance programs critically hampered any effective rapid response by firefighters. For example, in section 4-5-4 of this document 7 , there are references about vehicle access.
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‘Many  track/trails  within  the  [Namadji]  Park  are  unsuitable  for  use  by  fire  tankers,  often  due  to  the  lack  of  passing  and  turnaround  areas  or  due  to  overhanging trees.’  ‘In  his  statement,,  Mr  Graham  Blinksell  described  fire  trail  maintenance  in  Namadgi as ‘basically non‐existant.’ 

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Comment: Whilst there were other significant failures, it is these types of problematic fire trail access issues in which tracked vehicles such as the AFFVs and the TFFVs are specifically designed to overcome.
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666 ABC Website – Canberra: http://www.abc.net.au/canberra/stories/s861389.htm
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Chapter 4 of the Coroner’s Report “The Canberra Firestorm”, by Maria Doogan, page 98. http://www.courts.act.gov.au/BushfireInquiry/The%20Canberra%20Firestorm%20Report/The%20Canberra %20Firestorm%20(VOL%20I)%20(chapter%204).pdf
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Grampians Wildfires of 2005

Very difficult terrain and vegetation significantly inhibited success in combating this bushfire/wildfire, without effective Aerial Support. This was a very intense fire that threatened the communities around Halls Gap and Stawell. 8
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Gippsland Bushfires of 2006
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Over 1 million hectares of national parks, forests and farmland were destroyed in this long-running bushfire that extended for many days. These fires severely stressed the CFA firefighting capability due to the extended period that volunteers remained on the fireground, away from their employment and families. 9
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Overseas Firestorm Events
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In 2006, many busfires/wildfires devastated large areas of Spain and Portugal. 10 Since 2003, Portugal has lost over 870,000 hectares of forests to bushfires. The recent wildfires in Greece as at 25th August, 2007, where up to 58 people have died clearly indicate just how uncontrolled firestorms can devastate communities. 11
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These events clearly indicate that the incidence and intensity of bushfires/wildfires are increasing. The 2007 Australian Spring 12 season is already predicted to be warmer. If the coming summer is hotter and drier, then we need to further develop new methods to meet the increasing threat of bushfires/wildfires as a matter of urgency.
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8
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Sydney Morning Herald article Grampians Bushfires website : http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/bushfires-claim-three-lives/2006/01/23/1137864828134.html
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The Age article with satellite imagery of Gippsland Bushfires 2006, website : http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/gippsland-towns-bracing-for-weekend-fireonslaught/2006/12/06/1165081019861.html
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BBC Online News website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5255244.stm
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Greek Firestorms 2007, ABC News website: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/26/2015362.htm?section=justin
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12
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Bureau of Meteorology website: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/temps_ahead.shtml

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Firefighter OH & S
Any discussion about fire trail access problems opens a significant issue in regard to those people and agencies within Australia who fight fires – the firefighters. These people are subject to the same rules and cover within Occupational Health and Safety (OH & S) Legislation as every other worker in the nation. The Commonwealth Parliamentary Select Committee Report 13 “A Nation Charred – Report on the Inquiry into Bushfires,” provides a chilling account of several issues that are common to all bushfire and wildfire events within Australia. Excerpts continue over the next 2 pages.
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Common Factors Affecting Fireground Access
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Poor Fire Trail Management

This is a major problem across the nation. Whilst the cost and resources required to properly build, maintain, manage and monitor fire trails would be staggering, accounts such as the one detailed below are very common.
“The  Committee  witnessed  the  poor  state  of  fire  trails  in  the  Kosciuszko  National Park where it inspected a section of the Grey Mare fire trail on 21 May  2003  in  the  company  of  Rural  Fire  Service  (RFS)  Group  Captains,  the  Fire  Control Officer and his Deputy from the region.”   “During  this  inspection  the  Committee  experienced  the  great  difficulty  of  travelling  over  deep  channels,  or  ‘tank  traps’  as  they  are  known  locally,  that  were deliberately built into the trails after the fires to discourage access.” 

Other references continue to emphasize the significant problems encountered by firefighters trying to gain access for reconnaissance or firefighting tasks.
2.72  The Committee received evidence where the poor or uncertain state of fire  trails had caused them not to be used because of the threat it might pose to the  life of fire fighters.   A Group Captain in the Snowy River Shire, stated that: “Major time was lost on  the reconstruction … and …reopening of old fire trails …Fire fighting strategies  had  to  be  changed  because  the  existing  fire  trails  were  not  suitable  for  back  burning.” 49
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2.73  The  Captain  of  the  Rocky  Plain  Brigade  indicated  the  level  of  work  required to bring tracks into working condition: “Nine days were spent on the  Grey Mare trail alone in getting that to a state where we could get along it.”  
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“A Nation Charred – Report on the Inquiry into Bushfires”, website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/bushfires/inquiry/report/fullreport.pdf
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“We could not even drive along it to look at fires. That was time spent when we  had benign weather and when it was critical to control fires in their early stages.  Both these trails lacked turning bays and refuges.” 50
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49 Peter Bottom, Transcript of Evidence, 10 July 2003, p. 6.  50 David Fletcher, Transcript of Evidence, 10 July 2003, p. 7. 

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Safety Concerns in Accessing the Fireground

The poor condition of fire trails has put firefighters in the position of declining to proceed along overgrown tracks because they run the risk of endangering the lives of their men and themselves.
A  representative  of  the  Central  East  Regional  Conference  of  the  Rural  Fire  Service Association (RFSA) and Captain of the Round Corner Bushfire Brigade  in Baulkham Hills, Mr Ross Jones, stated that:  “I have personally refused to go  down trails because I believed them to be unsafe … especially with regard to  the fire behaviour that could be expected to impact on us.” 53
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These are not isolated accounts.
2.77 A representative of the Alpine Shire Council stated that Council is ‘aware of  a  number  of  fire  trails  which  were  not  properly  maintained.’ 54    The Captain of the Dederang Fire Brigade specified the shortcomings:  “The fire  access tracks are only a third of the width and are overgrown if they are open at  all.’ 55
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This comment about adequate fire trail width gives some indication as to the effort required to properly ‘open’ fire trails.
2.78  The  Director  of  the  Victorian  Association  of  Forest  Industries  (VAFI)  explained the significance of maintaining fire trails to adequate specifications:   “The difference between one bulldozer width and three … [is] that … (1) you  cannot  turn  a  fire  truck  around  as  easily,  (2)  you  are  still  going  to  have  the  overstorey touching and the fire can move across there and (3) you cannot start  a backburning operation safely.”  56
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51  Ron  McLeod,  Inquiry  into  the  Operational  Response  to  the  January  2003  Bushfires in the ACT, August 2003, p. 95.  52 Michael Scholz, Transcript of Evidence, 9 July 2003 (Richmond), p. 11.  53 Ross Jones, Transcript of Evidence, 9 July 2003 (Richmond), p. 32. 

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54 Ian Nicholls, Transcript of Evidence, 24 July 2003, p. 51.  55 Jack Hicks, Transcript of Evidence, 24 July 2003, p. 73.  56 Patrick Wilson, Transcript of Evidence, 30 July 2003, p. 6. 

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The Deliberate Sabotaging of Fire Trails

These acts are not only conducted by vandals and ‘well-meaning’ environmental groups, but also by Government Agencies & Authorities 14 .
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Mr Kevin Browne, who has been involved in matters relating to fire fighting in  the Blue Mountains for over 50 years, estimated the magnitude of trail closures  in  the  area:    “Five  hundred  kilometres  of  fire  trails  were  put  in  on  the  Blue  Mountains, and National Parks have closed probably a third of them.”  62
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2.86  Mr.  Jones  indicated  the  degree  of  enthusiasm  with  which  the  NPWS  implemented  its  policy  of  blocking  fire  trails:  ’Trails  have  been  rehabilitated  whilst the emergency was still on and without reference to the District or Rural  Fire Service manager.’ 63
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2.87 Another experienced volunteer fire fighter from the area stated:  “National  Parks hired a friend of mine, who is a bulldozer driver, to make [a fire trail on  the eastern side of Mountain Lagoon] impossible to use … When the fire was in  operation,  because  the  Mountain  Lagoon  Fire  Brigade  had  the  authority  they  hired my mate with the bulldozer to clean [the trail] up.  Before he had even  moved away again, National Parks hired the same man to go back and rip it all  up again.”  64
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Comment : This type of management of our forests/National Parks is assessed as irresponsible, costly and dangerous and may well lead to the injury and/or death to firefighters, residents or tourists. Incidents such as these may, in the future be referred to the courts for Criminal Negligence.
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There has already been a case involving charges being filed against a firefighter for manslaughter in the US. The threat of criminal charges being laid against US firefighters has had dire consequences for their national bushfire firefighting effort, and there is no reason to assume that similar consequences will not happen in Australia.
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“A Nation Charred – Report on the Inquiry into Bushfires”, website: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/bushfires/inquiry/report/fullreport.pdf
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Some details of this story, reported in the US Journal, Wildfire,

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are as follows:

“A  survey  of  3,362  firefighters  conducted  by  the  International  Association  of  Wildland Fire showed that 36% of the full‐time wildland firefighters surveyed  will make themselves less available to be assigned to wildland fires as a direct  result of recently filed manslaughter charges against a firefighter in Washington  state.”   “The  Thirtymile  Fire,  started  by  an  escaped  campfire  near  Winthrop,  Was.,  claimed the lives of four U.S. Forest Service firefighters on July 10, 2001. This  year on Jan. 30, the U.S. attorney in Spokane, Wash., charged Ellreese Daniels,  the  incident  commander  of  the  fire,  with  four  counts  of  involuntary  manslaughter and seven counts of making false statements.”   “This  is  the  first  time  a  wildland  firefighter  has  faced  criminal  charges  after  firefighters  have  been  entrapped  and  killed  on  a  wildland  fire.  As  one  of  the  survey  respondents  stated,  these  charges  ʺwill  have  a  chilling  effect  on  the  ability of agencies to recruit and retain qualified supervisors.ʺ   “The IAWF initiated the survey after hearing speculation that some firefighters  were no longer going to serve in certain key management positions on wildland  fires due to the new threat of going to prison for making mistakes on fires.” 

Whilst there are obvious differences between US and Australian laws, there are close similarities within Negligence and Manslaughter precedents. Should any action, such as deliberately obstructing fire trails, be linked to injury or death, then any person or organization having contributed to that outcome my find themselves liable, whether under Criminal or Civil Law. There is also the question of recruitment. In the Wildfire article, a survey of 3,362 firefighters conducted after these manslaughter charges had been filed, reported the following:
  93% said that firefighters being charged with involuntary manslaughter due  to incidents on a wildland fire was either bad or very bad for wildland fire.     8% said that because of this situation they would retire or find another job  within a year.     23% said they would remove some positions for which they were qualified  from  their  Incident  Qualifications  Card,  or ʺRed Card,ʺ which would prevent  them from serving in those positions.  

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Wildfire Magazine website: http://www.wildfiremag.com/tactics/thirtymile_survey022207/
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    85%  said  they  do  not  presently  have  personal  liability  insurance,  but  21%  plan to purchase it this year.   36%  of  the  full‐time  wildland  firefighters  said  that  they  would  make  themselves less available to be assigned to wildland fires.

Should any events such as these happen within Australia, our firefighting ability would be decimated. This makes it imperative that firefighters have clear access to the fireground. If these access routes are obstructed or overgrown, then AFFVs and TFFVs greatly enhance the ability of firefighters to cross or circumvent these obstacles. These tracked vehicles can also turn within their length, reducing the risk of entrapment due to narrow trails that stop normal wheeled vehicles turning or passing.

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Off-the-Shelf Fire Fighting Tankers

There are several problems in using standardized, commercial, truck cabs and chassis units as a basis for frontline Bushfire Vehicles. These shortcomings have been detailed in a paper by Bruce Paix 16 , entitled “Improving Burnover Protection for Australian Bushfire Appliances,” in 1999. In this paper, weaknesses were identified in the following vehicle elements.
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Vehicle Cabins: Windows and Door Trims – commercial truck cabs have flammable vinyl/synthetic interiors. These can ignite and/or smoulder, giving off toxic vapours and smoke, forcing the firefighters to abandon their vehicle, which may well be their only refuge.
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Comment : Military vehicles such as the Leopard and the M113 do not have “door trim” or synthetic “interiors”, they are designed to operate in dangerous environments. The Fire King has a specially designed interior that does not flame or produce toxic vapours. It has no side doors, so there is no risk of door seals catching on fire, thereby penetrating the cab.
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Fuel Tanks – Commercial trucks often have unprotected fuel tanks, which may increase vulnerability. Airbrake lines – One notable feature of truck braking systems is that any drop in air pressure in the lines due to damage will cause the brakes to “lock-up”. Should this happen on the fireground, or during a burnover, the truck is effectively immobilized, and the crew is place at extreme risk.

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“Improving Burnover Protection for Australian Bushfire Appliances”, Bruce Paix; Presented at the Australian Bushfire Conference, Albury NSW, 1999
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16

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4.

Flammability of other Vehicle Parts – includes tyres, fuel lines and hoses. In some cases these have caught on fire and led to the complete destruction of the truck. Mechanical Failures – engines have failed to start or run when they are subjected to intense heat and smoky conditions. There have also been instances where burning embers have got into the engine and burned out the turbocharger, again immobilizing the vehicle Sudden Bushfire Changes – these have occurred when the characteristics of the bushfire such as intensity, direction, sudden wind gusts or wind shifts have suddenly changed, resulting in entrapment of firefighters and their vehicles.

5.

6.

An example of an “Off the Shelf” 4WD Firefighting Vehicle – the Hino Tanker.  A standard commercial cab‐ chassis  truck  with  vehicle  protection  sprays,  drop‐down  reflector  curtains  (above  front  windscreen).    The  chassis  is  not  purpose‐built  for  fire‐fighting,  windscreens  are  not  armoured,  and  the  door  seals  are  unmodified.  Photo by Martien Dral    Courtesy  of  the  website:    Fire‐Engine‐Photos.com:    http://www.fire‐engine‐photos.com/picture/number2142.asp
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Fire Fighting – Current CFA Assets
Information concerning personnel and resources of the Victorian CFA are drawn from the 2006 CFA Annual Report, 17 with relevant data displayed as follows:
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Personnel
Whilst there is a well trained cadre of professional firefighters from the 2 main services – the Urban/Metropolitan and the CFA services, it is the volunteer CFA members who are called upon to fight most rural bushfires and wildfires.
Volunteers             58,849  464  837  60,150 

Career firefighters  

Career support and administration   Total CFA people      

In military terms this equates to volunteer numbers of approximately 90 Battalions (Bn) or, in a standard 9 Bn Divisional Unit, 10 Divisions. Whilst these volunteers do not all ‘turn out’ for a single event, it still represents a very high number to be drawn away from the normal workforce in towns and rural areas in a state such as Victoria.

Equipment
The details of the vehicle fleet include:
Tankers    Pumpers                   1,266  243  37  7  3  23  12 

Pumper Tanker     Aerial Appliances   All Terrain   Quick Attack      

Command and Control    

17
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CFA Annual Report Website: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/documents/cfa_anrep_2006.pdf
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Mobile Communications Vehicle   7  Hazardous Materials Unit   Marine                         10  1  4  26  9  406  453  1,064 

Protective Equipment Support   Rescue        

Specialist (Gas, Lighting, Breathing Apparatus)   Car/Transport                  

Other (Trailers)    

Brigade/Forest Industry brigade owned  

Tanker Fire Trucks – Specifications include: • Water capacity – between 580 and 3,000 litres maximum capacity • Usually rear wheel drive – there have been new purchases of 4WD capable vehicles in the 2004 – 2005 budget. • There are no tracked Tanker Firefighting vehicles currently in the fleet.
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CFA Tactics
Tactics used in combating bushfires and wildfires are dependant upon many factors, including: • Terrain/topographical considerations, including road access and escape routes. • Access to adequate water reserves such as creeks and dams for refills. • Wind direction, velocity, weather forecasts and humidity levels. • Type of fire – grassland, low scrub, forest, urban etc. • Fuel loads and densities. • Farms and communities likely to be threatened. • Natural obstacles and choke points.

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• Forces available – i.e. Numbers of personnel and types of fire-fighting appliances. • Bulldozers play a critical role in fighting any bushfire/wildfires. These are the ONLY tracked vehicles used in bushfire/wildfire tactics. They do not, however, have any firefighting capability and so, are extremely vulnerable to changes in wind velocity, direction and rapidly advancing fires. Their very low rates of advance compound their vulnerability, and the crews are at high risk. • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) require bulldozers to be in the vanguard of any strike across unburned bushland/scrub into the flanks of the fire – this prevents staking of tyres, or vehicle immobilization/breakdown because of unseen obstacles in these areas. They are normally closely followed/supported by fire tankers that provide protection via a direct firefighting capacity that the bulldozers lack, should the characteristics of the fire change. • Bulldozers also play a critical part in laying access routes across ‘the black’ (burned out areas) enabling flanking attacks at the fire – this strategy works well because the bushfire has already significantly reduced the fuel-load and ground visibility is usually much better. There is increased danger for wheeled vehicles traversing non-cleared areas of the higher risk of tyre staking and driving across burning ember filled logs – these may burn or puncture tyres. The tactical downside here though, is that the rate of advance of the bulldozer is often less than 4 km/h, whilst the firefront may be moving away at speeds in excess of 20km/h. • Road Graders are also valuable in creating access routes for strike teams and creating fire breaks – whilst they have higher speeds, they too are susceptible to tyre problems and have no inherent firefighting ability or protection. • Aerial support for both reconnaissance and firebombing activity. • Command, Intelligence, Co-ordination and Support elements for successfully attacking the fire/s. • Establishment of Fire Plans for property defence and/or Escape and Evacuation Plans for residents/personnel at threat. • Establishment of ‘Safe Harbours’ or Anchor Points that can be used as secure Forming Up Points (FUPs) or Rest areas for exhausted personnel. • Full details of tactics may be found in the “CFA Wildfire Firefighter A Learning Manual”, by Russell Rees & Gary Morgan, 2002.
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CFA Tactics – Graphical Elements

The Firefighter

Aerial Bomber

Bulldozer

Fire tanker

Helicopter

Grader

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Current Situation – ADF Developments
Australia currently has the opportunity ‘ of a lifetime .’
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According to open source media reports 18 , we have approx 103 Leopard 1s that can be converted from a war-fighting capability into a fire-fighting capability.
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The Australian Defence Forces (ADF) are in the process of changing over from the Leopard 1 AS3 AFV as the mainstay of AST Armoured Forces. They are being replaced by the Abrams M1A1 AFV. The Australian Government has the option via tender process to on-sell the Leopard to other countries, however, such on-selling arrangements may, because of clauses within the original contract, require the approval of the German Government. It is unlikely that such a sale will return much in the way of financial benefit – because there are already other countries on-selling more modern AFV models 19 such as the Leopard II, which are a significant improvement over the Leopard 1.
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Rather than on-sell the Leopards, it may be of more benefit to Australia to convert these Leopards into Armoured Fire-Fighting Vehicles (AFFVs). From reports of the soldiers and crews in the Australian Defence Force who operated these tanks, the Australian versions proved to be:
“Although  never  deployed  overseas,  the  Leopard  proved  an  outstanding,  reliable and popular tank for its crews.”  20
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Converting the AST Leopard 1 AS3 models into a firefighting role will only succeed if they can be thoroughly assessed as having retained good NBC, armour, metallurgical and drivetrain integrity and operability to survive in a firefighting role. If this is not the case then there is another option, purchase ready made factory built variants.

18
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Nine MSN Report of the Sale of the AST Leopards, website: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=89044
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19
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Ibid

Website from Exercise Predators Strike - the last combined Exercise involving Leopard AS3 variants in Australia: http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/2007/Mar/20070328a/index.htm
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20

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A close up view of the Australian Leopard 1.

Leopard 1 at Exercise “Predator’s Strike” – Cultana Training Area – March 2007 

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The New Situation – Texoga Tech Developments
Texoga Tech is the US company that are already converting demilitarized Leopard 1 A4 model AFVs into AFFVs. Details of both the company and its products may be found on the website of Texoga Corp. 21
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Photo of the Jumbo FFT 5000 Fire‐Fighting Tank,  currently marketed/built by Texoga Tech. 

The Leopard 1 AFV in its de-militarised AFFV configuration after conversion by Texoga Tech as seen in the above photograph. Details about this AFFV provided from the Texoga website.
“This vehicle – developed by Europeʹs largest defense contractor KRAUSS  MAFFEI‐WEGMANN – is designed with extensive off‐road and land‐clearing  capabilities and consists of a 5,000 gallon foam delivery system mounted on the  reliable Leopard I tank chassis.”  
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21
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Website of Texoga Tech Corp: http://www.texogatech.com/gls.cfm
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“The integrated nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) protection system of  the Leopard 1 protects the crew against smoke and toxic gases and allows this  vehicle to operate where no commercial unit can go.”  
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“Conversely, its mountable high tech rubberized pads for the tracks enable it to  be driven on public roads. Coupled with the above features and the capability  to be transported on a commercial trailer, this vehicle can be deployed to  respond to the most hazardous fire situations. The unit is best suited for forest  fires, harbor and industrial fire‐fighting, tunnel fires and refinery and  petrochemical remote sites (desert and jungle) .” 22
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A recent photo of the Jumbo AFFV at US wildfires is below.

Photograph from a series about the Jumbo in the US. 23
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Detailed specifications about the AFFV may be located at this website reference 24 , and are detailed later in this paper.
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22
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Website of Texoga Tech: http://www.texogatech.com/gls.cfm
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23
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Website for photos of the Jumbo AFFV: http://www.jumbofiretank.com/www%5Fjumbo/photo_gallery.cfm
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24
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Website of Jumbo 5000 AFFV: http://www.jumbofiretank.com/www%5Fjumbo/specs.htm

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Major features of the Leopard AFFV include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Approx weight empty – 34 tonnes: Weight full – 54 tonnes. Max speed – 64 km/h. Water carrying capacity of 20,000 litres – 20 tonnes. Specially fitted chemical tank for adding fire-retardant foam to the main water cannon used in extinguishing fires. Addition of dozer blade – this is critical in any operations across the fireground as it enables the vehicle to conduct rapid & light bulldozer tasks, enabling a speedy track making capacity for the deployment of motorized/wheeled elements. Complete NBC capability, with oxygen Breathing Apparatus (BA) for crew members. This would make this AFFV the only Firefighting Vehicle in Australia with such a high level of comprehensive Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for ADF/CFA crew members. AFFV capability to ascend/descend slopes of 60% (empty) and 40% (at full water capacity) AFFV capability to traverse slopes of 30%. Rubber tracked pad system that does not destroy normal road bitumen. This vehicle is also reportedly useful in urban firefighting situations where close protection is required to prevent loss of firefighter lives from intense Industrial and Chemical Fires. Easily transported to the fireground with Semi-trailers/low-loaders, similar to bulldozer transporters currently in widespread use.

6.

7. 8. 9. 10.

11.

These units have been quoted to me at a cost of USD4.9 Million each, FOB from the factory, in a “ ready to go state .”
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Given that Australia purchased the Leopard 1 from Germany, perhaps the major company KRAUSS MAFFEI-WEGMANN AG building this new AFFV model was involved in the original manufacture of our Leopards. If so, we may be able to negotiate a separate or special deal with them directly – this concept will, naturally, need to be directly explored by the Department of Defence (Materiel) and DFAT.

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Concurrently, just as Texoga Tech is busy with the conversion of Leopard 1s into AFFVs, another US based company is converting the M 113 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) into a Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle (TFFV).

The Jumbo filling up with water, preparing for the next firefighting task. 25
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25
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Website for photos of the Jumbo AFFV: http://www.jumbofiretank.com/www%5Fjumbo/photo_gallery.cfm
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Additional Tracked Support – BAE Systems
This company is BAE Systems, which has been converting surplus models of the popular military variants of the M 113 (Armoured Personnel Carrier) APC into Tracked Fire-Fighting Vehicles (TFFVs) . 26
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The M 113 in its conversion as a Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle (TFFV) by BAE Systems. 27
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Major features of this TFFV system include: 1. Approx weight empty – 12 tonnes: Weight full – 18.5 tonnes. 2. Max speed – 66 km/h. 3. Water carrying capacity of 6,500 litres – 6.5 tonnes. 4. Compressed air foam system. 5. Dozer blade – 2 way, with a width of 2.6 metres. This is critical in any operations across the fireground. This vehicle can then clear debris, burning stumps and logs, enabling more rapid deployment for motorized/wheeled elements that are susceptible to tyre staking/puncture.

26
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Web site for BAE Systems Fire-Fighting Vehicle (FFV) : http://www.uniteddefense.com/www.m113.com/ffv.html
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27
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Web site of BAE Systems US: http://www.uniteddefense.com/www.m113.com/ffv.html
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6. Whilst there is no dedicated NBC capability with this vehicle, it is possible for oxygen Breathing Apparatus (BA) for the crew members to be added as an add-on to the variant. This would enhance Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for ADF/CFA crew members. 7. TFFV capability to ascend/descend slopes of 60% 8. TFFV capability to traverse slopes of 40%. 9. Padded rubber tracks enabling use on normal bitumen roadways.

The most significant enhancements to Australia’s fire-fighting capability that these 2 vehicles provide our Fire Services may be highlighted as follows: 1. 2. Tracked mobility – there is no danger of punctures or burning tyres as a cause of breakdown/immobility within the fireground.
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Both vehicles have a significantly increased capacity to cross obstacles , whether from terrain or fallen logs, burning tree trunk debris, or shallow gullies/dried watercourses.
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3. 4.

Thermal imaging sensors enable crews to ‘see through the smoke’ and locate/target ‘hot-spots’ within the fireground.
U U U U

Both vehicles are equipped with dozer blades – this gives them a capacity to undertake ‘fast bulldozer tasks’ – normal bulldozer operations have a maximum rate of advance of no more than 4 km/h . When the average fire-front is advancing at 20km/h or more, any Strike Team advance ‘across the black’ will be left well behind – see more on firefighting tactics later in this document.
U U U U U U

5.

Both vehicles provide significantly more protection to their crews than other types of vehicles such as the existing tankers currently in use by the CFA. Significant Tracked Escape & Evacuation Vehicle (TEEV) capability – each combat sub-unit (Troop) of Leopards and M 113 FFVs may have a normal ‘ troop carrying’ M113 APC attached specifically for responding to life-threatening situations. Personnel trapped in houses or in other highrisk situations can then be rapidly loaded into the back of the APC in a ‘snatch and grab’ operation, covered with water-cannon spray from the support AFFVs and TFFVs. Those rescued can then be rapidly transported out of harm’s way. These vehicles can also be used as mobile field ambulances and/or used to ferry crews safely around the fireground.
U U U U U

6.

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4WD / AWD Support – Thales Fire King
Perhaps the most exciting element within the proposed new Armoured Strike Team is the Fire King, as it has already been proven as a World Class. This vehicle is probably the best 4WD/AWD fire-fighting vehicle in the world, and is currently in service with the South Australian (SA) Forestry Department as their most effective fire-fighting asset. The authors have tested this vehicle in the Mount Gambier Forestry area. The Fire King easily traversed steep gradients over very soft sands encountered along firebreaks and easily traversed overland areas that would have bogged/stopped any normal 4WD vehicle.

The Fire King, in self protection mode, during recent terrain evaluation at Mt Gambier, SA. Crew access is via a central door at the rear of the cabin, eliminating the risk of fire burning through door seals as can happen with traditional vehicle configurations. Emergency exits are through side cab windows, clearly seen in this photo.

Major features of the Fire King include: 1. 2. Already proven to be a world class fire-fighting vehicle. Locally designed and built in Australia by Thales Group in Bendigo VIC. 28
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28
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Thales Group Fire King website: http://www.adi-limited.com.au/site.asp?page=79
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3. 4.

This vehicle is the result of additional development from the outstanding military variant – the Bushmaster, used by the ADF. 29 30
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Extensive testing by the CSIRO under controlled, monitored and consistent heat loads for 20+ minutes – proven vehicle survivability by driving off the burnover test pad. Run-flat tyre inflation system. Should the tyres be staked/punctured, the on-board compressor maintains adequate tyre inflation enabling vehicle to withdraw safely. Maximum protection of crew from fire – state-of-the-art armour plate & glass/windscreen that can withstand 1,000 deg C. temperatures. During CSIRO burnover testing, the cabin temperature rose by no more than 15 deg C above ambient air temperature. Approx weight empty – 10.2 tonnes: Weight full – 14.2 tonnes. Max speed – 100 km/h. (restricted by Forestry SA). Constant road speed easily maintained due to superior power of the engine plant, an intercooled turbo-charged Caterpillar diesel of 300 hp. Water carrying capacity of 3,000 litres (firefighting) + 700 litres (reserved for vehicle protection). Low centre of gravity – the design of the vehicle allows the water tank to be fitted deep within the monocoque chassis, lowering the centre of gravity in comparison to current pumper/tanker configurations – lessening the chance of rollover. The independent suspension design allows the Fire King to travel across the roughest terrain whilst retaining excellent stability and crew comfort offroad. The 6 speed automatic transmission, with power steering, enables any CFA member to safely handle this vehicle in any terrain. Options for fit-out include purchase of the cab-chassis from Thales. If the rear of the Fire King layout, as currently utilized by Forestry SA for plantation firefighting, is not suitable for CFA requirements, then the current unit used on current CFA vehicles could be fitted to the Fire King, subject to engineering specifications. Full specification details are provided via Thales website.
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5.

6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

11.

12.

13.

31

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29
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Thales Group website: http://www.thalesgroup.com.au/site.asp?page=154
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30
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ADF website: http://www.defence.gov.au/TeamAustralia/vehicles_troop_transport_(Bushmaster).htm
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Fire King Specifications page: http://www.adilimited.com.au/content/docs/brochures/Land/8p_fireking.pdf
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A ‘scorched’ Prototype Fire King, after successfully withstanding the CSIRO’s “Burnover Standard.” The vehicle was able to be driven off the test-bed area after the test.

Co-author Daryl Rigby discussing the features of the definitive model Fire King with Dave Stevens, State Fire Manager, Forestry SA & Kevin Brown, Fleet Manager, Forestry SA, in the testing area near Mt. Gambier SA.

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The Armoured Strike Team
Commentators may well ask the question, “Why should we have 3 vehicle types in the Armoured Strike Teams?” “Is this ‘overkill’?” We believe that it is based upon a sound and effective strategy. The principle that applies to the fire-fighting situation is derived from proven military successes in war-fighting, which may be summarized 32 as follows;
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“The  combined arms concept  is the basic idea that different arms and weapons  systems must be used in concert to maximize the survival and combat  effectiveness of each other.”   “The strengths of one system must be used to compensate for the weaknesses of  others.”  
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With recent increases in the severity, frequency, intensity & extent of firestorms and bushfires, it is only prudent to provide fire-fighters with safe and effective equipment that meets the highest standards. By incorporating the following elements within the Armoured Strike Teams, we are utilizing different arms/weapon systems in concert to maximize the overall survival and combat effectiveness of these Units .
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1. 2. 3.

Tanks – AFFV – Leopard variant. Mechanized – TFFV & TEEV – M113 variant. Motorised – Fire King AWD – Bushmaster variant.

Equipment Costs
Whilst there will obviously be costs in acquiring, converting, training and maintaining effective Armoured Strike Teams, Government and Communities need to offset such costs with the benefits in providing a safer, more effective fire-fighting force. An estimate of the cost for a strike team of 5 brand new units, comprising 2 AFFVs, 1 TFFV, 1 TEEV and 2 Fire Kings is between AUD 18 – 24 million. Conversion of existing AST Leopard AFVs & M113s will be significantly lower. Inclusion of the brand new Fire King AWD vehicle will be of the order of approx AUD 700,000 per unit, subject to the number/s ordered.
“Toward Combined Arms Warfare”, by CAPT J.M House, US Army, 1984. Website of the US Command and General Staff College: http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/House/House.asp
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Contrast the cost of Armoured Strike Teams in reducing potentially life-threatening situations, property damage/loss and community devastation, with the Bushfire Cost Summary (details on page 35). We consider that it will be money well spent.

Role of the Armoured Strike Teams
It is perhaps appropriate to state what these new Armoured Strike Teams do not do.
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1. 2.

They do not replace existing firefighting units.
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They will not be located within all Victorian CFA Fire Stations.
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It is envisaged that these units will fulfill the following role.
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1.

Add a significant strike capability to existing firefighting services, by: a. Deploying in the pathfinder/vanguard role for potentially severe wildfires/bushfires – i.e. with dozer blades fitted onto tracked elements, rapid bulldozer tasking will enable early access along blocked, overgrown or obstructed trails to the fireground. b. Providing a heavy ‘knockdown’ capacity for an early attack on bushfires before they become firestorms. c. By use of on-board thermal imaging/infra-red sensors, and GPS equipment, provide early ground-based Intelligence about terrain, bush density, trail conditions, access to the fireground and most importantly, vital statistics about the bushfire. This information is vital in providing Incident Commanders with an early appreciation of the bushfire threat.
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d. Provide a screening force for non-armoured elements/vehicles in fireground operations – i.e. the Armoured Strike Teams provide increased protection of the more vulnerable CFA elements, as they are placed between non-armoured vehicles and the firefront/fireground.
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e. Provide a mobile safe-haven for vulnerable CFA elements in those emergency situations where there has been a dramatic, deteriorating and unpredictable change in bushfire characteristics.
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2.

Add a new support capability to firefighting services, by; a. Bringing a substantial, mobile, water supply (in the form of the AFFVs {20,000 litres} and the TFFVs {6,500 litres}) to the fireground. The AFFV may then be used for the water resupply of other CFA firefighting assets nearby. i.e normal semi-trailer water tankers will not be able to traverse narrow firetrails to refill empty firefighting vehicles. Therefore the logistic chain will be reduced, enabling all firefighting assets to remain within the fireground area, doing what they were designed for – staying on the fireground, fighting fires. The Fire King vehicles will take over the firefighting role during resupply operations. b. Adding an Escape & Evacuation asset to the fireground that was not previously available. i.e the TEEVs (capacity of 6-9 personnel) can be used to either evacuate/rotate exhausted crews and then ferry in replacements; they can also be used to provide emergency shelter/transport to other persons effected by the fires. Fire Kings can provide firefighting escort support for the non-firefighting TEEV units. c. Add a front-line, mobile, first-aid station capability for the treatment of smoke inhalation, cuts/abrasions to CFA members/victims. Patients can then be stabilized and transported back to the Command HQ area for further assessment and/or evacuation by dedicated Ambulance. Once again, the Fire Kings can provide immediate firefighting support during these operations.

3.

In the lower fire-risk seasons, during controlled fuel-reduction burns, the Armoured Strike Teams can fulfill their commitment to training & realtime lower risk operations, by significantly: a. Reducing the risk of controlled burns breaking out. b. Providing a controlled environment suitable for the ongoing development and training of crews. c. Further developing and testing new tactics that will assist crews, commanders and personnel in reducing the effects of bushfires within our communities.

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Composition of Armoured Strike Teams
There are many possible variations as to the type of units that will make up the Armoured Strike Team. After preliminary analysis, we consider that the following would be an appropriate starting point for the Squadron sized unit.

3 x AFFV HQ Unit 1 x TEEV {Evac} 1 x TEEV {Amb} 1 x Fire King

2 x AFFV ‘A’ Troop 2 x TFFV 2 x Fire King ‘B’ Troop

2 x AFFV 2 x TFFV 2 x Fire King

2 x AFFV ‘C’ Troop 2 x AFFV {Recovery} 2 x Fire King

AFFV = 9 units TFFV = 6 units Fire King = 7 units AFFV Recovery = 2 units {no capital costs – transfer} Support elements have not been included, but would consist of supply, logistics & maintenance sub-units.
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Squadron Total

The proposal is for 2 Squadrons of 24 units each, based in Victoria; • 1 based to the West of Melbourne, and, • 1 to the Gippsland area in the East. Exact placement will be subject to security assessment by the Dept. of Defence & firerisk analysis by other relevant Authorities. We have not included details of deployment data for other States or Territories as it is beyond the scope of this proposal.
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The Costs of Bushfires
Of all the natural disasters that Australians face, it is bushfires that cause the most in terms of deaths and injuries.
“While total insurance and other costs from bushfires were less than from  floods, severe storms, tropical cyclones or earthquakes during the period of  analysis, bushfires claimed more lives than any of these other disasters.   More people were injured by bushfires than all other disasters combined and  bushfires created 48 per cent of the total death and injury cost from natural  disasters in Australia.” 

The costs to the community because of bushfires and firestorms is enormous, both directly, in terms of losses in life, livestock, property and equipment; and indirectly in terms of loss of income, livelihood, and community dislocation. A brief synopsis of some of the nation’s most serious bushfires and their associated costs are provided below. 33
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Ash Wednesday – 1983
Total property losses above $ 400 million

Canberra Bushfires – 2003
Forestry Assets covered by Insurance 34 $ 52 . 4 million
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Housing

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$ 250 million
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As the Australian Institute of Criminology

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reports;

“Each year ʹdisaster‐levelʹ bushfires (where the total insurance cost of the event  was more than $10 million) cost Australia an average of $77 million.” 

With costs at these levels, Australia could afford to put an additional Armoured Strike Team in the field every year and still have money left over.

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Australian Institute of Criminology website: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/bfab/bfab002.html
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ABC News Report webpage: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2004/01/07/1021552.htm
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Australian Institute of Criminology website: http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/bfab/bfab002.html Ibid.

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Reserved
This section is reserved for subjects/topics with an increased security classification.

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Current Firefighting Tactics
The current basic firefighting tactic may be seen in the graphical representation below:

Flames from Fire front The Black – Burned out Fireground areas Aerial Water Bombing

Wind Direction

Mopping Up Bulldozers & Firetankers and Leg Firefighter Support Flank Attack Bulldozer with Firetankers and Leg Firefighter Support

Fire front Direction

All Rates of Advance are limited to the speed of the Bulldozer/s – usually less than a walking pace of 4 Km/h

No- Go Zone for Aerial water-bombing

Aerial water-bombing tactics must only proceed when there are no firetankers, bulldozers or firefighters in the Target Zone – this is because the tonnes of water dropped at low altitude may maim/kill personnel.

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A Blueprint for New Firefighting Tactics
The establishment of new tactics may be seen in the graphical representations below:

The Black – Burned out Fireground areas

Aerial Water Bombing

Wind Direction

Mopping Up Bulldozers & Firetankers with Leg Firefighter Support

AFFV, TFFV & Fire King thrust enables rapid attack toward rear of firefront

Fire Front Direction

AFFV, TFFV & Fire King Rates of Advance limited only to terrain/groundcover conditions – should be in excess of 15Km/h

Use of AFFV, TFFV & Fire King enables: 1. Closer coordination between Aerial Water Bombers, and 2. Closer proximity to water bombing Ops because of increased Armoured Protection of Armoured Strike Teams.

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Rationale for New Firefighting Tactics
The rationale for developing new tactics is justified by the following events from recent bushfires, wildfires and firestorms. 1. Litigation – The ravaging bushfires and wildfires in Victoria from 2003 to the Gippsland summer fires of 2006/2007 provide a sentinel example. There is now a legal challenge and class action claim for Negligence against the Federal and State governments because these fires started in State Forests and National Parks – they then crossed into private land and caused considerable damage and dislocation to local communities. This challenge has been reported in The Age 37 newspaper. The law firm Slidders 38 is mounting this class action.
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2.

Rate of Advance – Current rates for Vanguard firefighting units to safely enter into and traverse across the fireground are limited to the speed of bulldozers (approx 3-5 km/h) – Where there are formed roads and tracks, this is not such a problem, however advancing through virgin bushland/forest/scrub is limited to walking pace or even less, depending upon the terrain and flora. Fast Knockdown in Flanking Attacks – Use of Armoured Strike Teams will enable more rapid strikes into fire hotspots and envelopment of secondary fires resulting from ember attack. Water carrying Capacity – The AFFV can carry up to 20 tonnes of water + fire retardant chemicals. This, plus its protection of crew, bulldozer blade, tracks, ability to fight fires and also act as a rapid deployment tanker make it the ideal New Generation Firefighting Vehicle. Fuel Reduction Burns – With these units attending the regular fuel reduction burns, there is little chance of breakout or loss of control due to unplanned events like sudden weather/wind conditions. These situations will also provide an excellent method of honing tactics in a real-time situation where pre-planning over the fireground can assist training. Use of Equipment – There is a long history of use of both the Leopard 1 and the M113 within the ADF. This has provided an important cadre of very experienced personnel who know how to drive, operate, maintain, service, transport and train future crews in the use of these vehicles. Tactics – Armoured warfare tactics will also be easily transferred from war-fighting to fire-fighting when the various elements of ADF and CFA
The Age News, website: http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/farmers-sue-state-overbushfires/2007/03/22/1174153243088.html
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3.

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5.

6.

7.

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Slidders Lawyers Invitation to Bushfire Victims website: http://www.slidders.com.au/wb/safe.php?page=46
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members come together to develop, train and fine tune the tactics and SOPs for the Operational Deployment of these units. 8. Combined Arms Focus – Whilst there has been a tendency to rely increasingly upon Aerial Firebombing techniques in direct support of traditional ground-based firefighting efforts, a paper in 2002 by The State Forests of NSW – Joint Select Committee on Bushfires , 39 page 9, highlights the following:
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The use of aircraft in firefighting  “State Forests, in full support of the Australian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC)  position  on  the  use  of  aircraft  for  fire  management,  advocates  that  the  most  effective  use  of  aerial  fire  bombing  is  in  the  early  stages  of  fire  development  (initial attack phase), in conjunction with or immediately supported by ground  crews.”   “The importance of ground crews cannot be underestimated in their ability to  establish  a  bare  earth  fire‐break  and  to  fully  extinguish  a  fire  when  this  is  manageable.”  “Fire bombing is ineffective at stopping the forward spread of Eucalypt forest  fires of moderate to high intensity, that is, fires exceeding 2,000‐3,000 kilowatts  per metre (kW/m), and is also ineffective for containment of long lines of active  fire, even at lower intensities (500‐2,000 kW/m).”   “The  most  damaging  bushfires,  such  as  forest  fire  events  that  have  caused  significant property losses in the past during NSW fire emergencies, typically  burn at intensities from 10,000kW/m to more than 100,000kW/m. Hence, unless  fire  bombing  aircraft  are  used  to  contain  fires  early  when  they  are  small  and  before they have reached their full fire behaviour potential, fires will build to an  intensity  that  renders  aircraft  use  untenable  in  moderate  to  adverse  weather  conditions and even in mild conditions if fuel loads are high.”   “Aircraft use on forest fires at this latter stage is almost always ineffective and a  waste of time, effort and money.”  “Fire control operations where State Forestsʹ helicopter was used to good effect  in  initial  attack  are  identified,  with  the  Mt  Piper  Ash  Fire  selected  for  presentation as a case study of how the skilled and determined use of a light  helicopter in initial attack in conjunction with equally skilled and determined  ground  crews  can  be  very  effective  in  suppressing  forest  fires  occurring  in  during severe weather conditions, preventing significant losses and damage to  life, property, commercial and environmental assets.” 

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Excerpts from The Joint Select Committee on Bushfires website: http://www.forest.nsw.gov.au/publication/fire/JSC_submission.pdf
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“For  improved  aircraft  usage  in  NSW  a  significant  shift  toward  pre‐emptive  regional deployment for initial attack roles is needed.”  “Similarly, more effort needs to be applied to ensure the most suitable aircraft  for NSW conditions are identified, equipped and procured well before the onset  of any fire danger period.”  “Furthermore,  it  is  fundamentally  important  that  trained  and  competent  personnel direct aircraft operations to ensure maximum benefit is obtained from  this high cost suppression aid.”  “Finally, State Forests sees little application for large capacity purpose built fire  bombers  in  its  areas  of  operations,  however  it  would  not  be  opposed  to  the  procurement  or  contracting  of  such  aircraft  for  rural‐urban  interface  applications  if  a  sound  business  case  demonstrated  the  economic  viability  of  such an option.” 

In a paper entitled “Fire Technology Transfer Note, Number 11 of April 1997” from the New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd , Aerial Firebombing effectiveness can be seriously hampered by fire intensity, type of foliage and the density of the tree canopy.
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They report that in Australian Eucalypt Forest fires, Aerial firebombing, even with retardant additive, will only hold the fire for a maximum of 1 hour. 40
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Many people may be aware of the concept of “The Golden Hour.” This concept is familiar to healthworkers in treating serious/trauma casualties. Studies have shown that those patients receiving treatment within the first hour of their accident/illness have higher survival rates. 41
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It appears that this timeframe is also critical to achieving a good outcome in Fire Fighting Strategies too .
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This means that rapid access to the fire front with ground units is paramount in preventing the bushfire escalating, spreading and intensifying into an uncontrollable firestorm situation. Such speed of access will naturally depend upon terrain and prevailing weather conditions. The addition of Armoured Strike Teams to Australia’s Fire Fighting Arsenal may well provide a means to gain this rapid access. As far as the authors are aware, no such research with a ‘Combined Arms Fire Fighting Focus’ as described has ever been tested or applied under Australian Conditions.
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Fire Technology Transfer Note - # 11 April 1997 website: http://nrfa.fire.org.nz/research/_docs/Fttn11aircraft-dropeffect.PDF
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Medical References to “The Golden Hour” website: http://www.wordspy.com/words/goldenhour.asp
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Jumbo Fire Tank Specifications (AFFV)
For nomenclature purposes the Jumbo Fire tank has been labeled as an Armoured Fire Fighting Vehicle (AFFV).

First section of the Jumbo 5000 Specifications.

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Website of Jumbo 5000 FFT specs: http://www.jumbofiretank.com/www%5Fjumbo/specs.htm
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More detail on the Performance Data. Acceleration Details.

Second section of the Jumbo 5000 FFT specs.

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Part 3 of the Jumbo AFFV specs.

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M113 Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle Specifications (TFFV) Specs
For nomenclature purposes the M113 Fire Fighting Vehicle has been designated as a Tracked Fire Fighting Vehicle (TFFV).

M113 Carrier Defense Conversion Fire Fighting Vehicle Characteristics* General Weight, fully loaded Empty weight Ground pressure, fully loaded Personnel capacity Fuel tank capacity Performance Speed on land Water fording Cruising range Turning radius Slope Side slope Trench crossing Vertical wall climbing Braking (20-0 mi/h) Firefighting Equipment Compressed Air Foam System Turret Water tank Refill options Dozer blade Winch Transfer pump (optional) 40,000 lb. (18,144 kg) 26,000 lb. (11,793 kg) 8.63 psi (0.60 kg/cm2) 4 120 gallons (454 liters)

41 mi/h (66 km/h) 40 in. (101 cm) 300 mi (483 km) Pivot to infinite 60% 40% 88 in. (223 cm) 30 in. (76 cm) 40 ft. (12.2 m)

250 gpm, 200 ft range 180 frontal fan Diesel 1,500 gallons 2-way, 102" wide 12,000/24,000 lb. 2,000 gpm draft

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Powertrain Rated Horsepower Fuel Transmission type Steering type Brake type Running Gear Suspension Road wheels Track type Track width Wheel travel

400 hp Diesel Hydrokinetic Hydrostatic Multiple wet plate

Torsion bar 6 pr per side, 24 inch diameter (61 cm) Steel single pin, detachable rubber pad 15 in. (38 cm) 15.8 in. (40.2 cm)

Electrical System Generator Amperes Volts, dc Batteries 200, 300 optional 28 4, low maintenance, 120 amp-hr, 12 volt-each

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About the Authors
CAPT Graham Bates, RAAMC Graham commenced his military service in Darwin, where he graduated from the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU) as a General Service Officer (Lieutenant) in the GRES. After graduating from the School of Military Intelligence, he worked as an IO with a special interest in Infrastructure, working for both NORFORCE and later 7 INT COY, an Intelligence asset of NORCOM. After Attending the Reserve Command and Staff College (RCSC) for a series of courses, Graham was promoted to CAPT in 1996. Due to civilian commitments, Graham transferred to the Royal Australian Medical Corps (RAAMC) in 2000, and is currently inactive. In civilian life, Graham is a Post Graduate Health Scientist (Medical Imaging) residing in Portland, Victoria. Although focusing on his civilian career as a Sonographer, he has maintained his interest in Infrastructure, and has recently published 2 scientific papers, “Recycling, Hot Topic or Just Hot Air?,” and “The Clever Country – Dying of Thirst.” Both of these papers detail strategic solutions in addressing Australia’s ongoing severe drought.

Mr. Daryl Rigby BN, RN Div 1 (Registered Nurse). A.I.I.M.S, I.C.S, T.N.C.C.. Daryl graduated from the Fiskville Fire Service training College in 1992, and served with the CFA as Fire Officer/Volunteer with the Urban Division. He has also spent time internationally reviewing Fire Services and Emergency planning. Daryl also completed studies in specific Health Service related courses in Advanced Fire Fighting, Hospital Emergency Procedures and Victorian State Displan /Medical Displan, and organized/ set up a medical displan response team/ equipment at Portland, Victoria. This has also entailed co-ordinated training in mock disaster incidents culminating in the State Medical Displan exercise/ conference being held in Portland in 1996. As the Safety and Emergency Response Officer with Portland District Health for 10 years, Daryl has had varied work experience, including Advanced Training Roles. Further studies were also undertaken at Melbourne University in Adult Education/ Workplace Training . Currently a Registered Nurse in the Operating Theatre and Emergency Dept, Daryl has a unique blend of Emergency Services and Nursing, and has attended numerous incidents/serious fires. He has seen first hand, the complexities of operating on the fireground under difficult conditions.

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Conclusion
The need for further research
Strategies outlined in this document provide a sound blueprint for further investigation into the development of ‘Armoured Strike Teams’, together with a new focus on a ‘Combined Arms Approach’ to fighting bushfires/wildfires. Additionally, there are the social issues of responsible environmental and fire management strategies that will become increasingly scrutinized by the public and the press. As the drought situation continues to unfold, the risk of higher intensity fires as experienced in recent times 43 may well become more common. Therefore, we will need to explore new avenues to meet this increased risk.
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Both authors are keen to participate in further trials & evaluations especially in the practical analysis and assessment process. If we do not meet this new challenge, then the following scenario may become all too frequent.
“I love a charcoal country  A land of sweeping flames  Of burnt out houses, bushland  …And little animals’ remains”  Graham Mibus ‐ Unpublished Works 2006 

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Website: CFA Debriefs from bushfires in Victoria from Dec 2005 to early 2006: http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/documents/debrief_outcomes_sig_fires_dec05_jan06.pdf
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