The term "fire truck" often inspires images of long, boxy trucks painted in bright red, but the worldwide fleet of fire trucks consists of models of many shapes and sizes. One of the latest, the Red Rhino LF5G features a much smaller, more agile design based around an Isuzu D-Max platform. Engineering firm HOPE Technik blends form and function to give this truck the ability to negotiate the tight urban spaces of Singapore in responding to fire and medical emergencies.
As its name indicates, the LF5G is the fifth-generation Red Rhino. It was developed for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and is built atop the rugged truck frame of the Isuzu D-Max pickup.
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You'd be forgiven for not immediately recognizing the D-Max because HOPE Technik has ripped out the cabin shell to make more room for the occupants and necessary gear. It has also restyled the front-end, giving the truck a new look compared to the stock D-Max or the Red Rhino LF4G, the latter of which had a very fifth-generation Mustang look to its nose.
"HOPE Technik firmly believes that form and function are equally important," Colin Choo, the company's artistic manager, tells us. "A firefighter's helmet is both symbolically and physically essential to the firefighter. Drawing inspiration from the helmet, we reimagined the front of the LF5G. The vehicle is given the determined expression of a firefighter on mission before the aesthetic is concluded with an extracted essence of the helmet."
Behind that reworked face, the company has lowered the hood line to improve visibility and built a 4130 chromoly steel roll cage for occupant protection. The lightweight custom fiberglass body panels help keep weight down and some provide structural reinforcement. The overall width of the vehicle has been trimmed to improve maneuverability. Unladen weight is listed at 2,300 kg (5,071 lb), 60 kg (132 lb) lighter than the LF4G listed in at when it was introduced last year.
On the function side, the biggest change from the LF4G is the new focus on medical response capabilities, which will help the SDCF meet increasing demands. The five-seat layout includes space for a medical technician, along with four firefighters, and a newly added compartment provides space for medical equipment, such as an automated external defibrillator, oxygen cylinder with regulator and blood pressure set. HOPE calls the LF5G the SCDF's first dual-purpose frontline vehicle for responding to both fire and medical emergencies.
The truck also receives some updates for smoother on-scene response and firefighting. A new electronic throttle control replaces the cable-actuated control, allowing for reliable engine RPM/pump pressure control. The layout has been adjusted for easier ingress/egress and more efficient equipment storage, including easy-access space for two CAF backpacks in back. Like its predecessor, the LF4G boasts single-button switching between pumping and driving modes.
The LF4G was billed as the world's first compact urban firefighting vehicle with a completely integrated compressed air foam (CAF) pump system, and the LF5G maintains foam capabilities in the form of an FRC TurboFoam Pump. Foam tanks integrated in the front fenders help balance weight and improve space efficiency. A Darley HMBC 500 fire pump with 220 CFM air compressor is also on board.
The truck is powered by Isuzu's 163-hp 2.5-liter twin-turbo diesel engine and five-speed automatic gearbox. It has driver-selectable 2WD, 4WD and 4WD low modes and includes a dual rear-view camera system for better visibility.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force rolled the LF5G out at Home Team Festival 2015 last month. The SCDF is one of 10 agencies that make up Singapore's Home Team.
Source: HOPE Technik