Austral Cougar Rapid Intervention Vehicle

In the early 1980s a new type of Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV) entered ARFF service. Designed and built by Austral Specialised Transport of Queensland, these were mounted on a Mack chassis and are approximately 14.7 tonnes in weight. Fire-fighting equipment was supplied by Konrad Rosenbauer of Austria. At service entry they were one of the largest RIVs in the world. They were also the fastest vehicles in ARFF service, with a maximum speed of 109 km/h and acceleration from 0 to 80 km/h in 20 seconds.

These vehicles remain in use today (c.2007). They are mainly used as a first-responder to fire alarms, first aid calls (they carry a defibrillator and oxygen resuscitation equipment), motor vehicle accidents, fuel spills etc.

The Cougars are four wheel drive with auto transmission and powered by a V8 Cummins air-start diesel that also drove the pump via a Power Take-Off (PTO). They carry 2,000 litres of water, 200 litres of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and the pump is capable of delivering 20,000 litres per minute of produced foam through either a roof mounted Rosenbauer monitor, handlines, or Ne-Pi-Ro high pressure (1,500 kPa) hosereel. They have 180 kg of Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) that could be delivered through a hosereel and carry an extensive range of rescue equipment and Breathing Apparatus (BA) for the crew of three.

The photo shows Melbourne Airport's Tender 5 outside the ATC Operations Building on 24 November 2005.

(Photo: Phil Vabre/CAHS collection)

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