Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First look at new Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Ford F550 ambulance ?

[6 Feb 2014: Please see postscript with comments from an SAF medic.]

The armed forces of a country in Southeast Asia - not Indonesia or Malaysia - is said to have picked the American-built Ford F550 chassis for modification as military ambulances.

A F550 pickup, made by Ford Motor Company, was seen being unloaded from a low loader in Singapore. It is one of several dozen that have arrived here. The rest are stabled in the Benoi area.




Senang Diri understands a cabin will be bolted to the chassis at the rear of the driver's compartment, which has been modified for right-hand drive. This cabin will have sufficient height for medical officers and combat medics to perform their work while standing in the cabin. Up to four litter cases can be carried using the F550 ambulance.

The Ford F550 is thought to be the vehicle of choice to replace Mercedes-Benz ambulances that presently serve the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). While a cost-effective lifesaver, the MB ambulances lack a cross-country capability and are less rugged than the Land Rover ambulances which it replaced partially. The latter still serve the SAF though in dwindling numbers.

The SAF is said to have deployed Ford Everest 4x4s as safety vehicles to accompany troops deployed outfield. These vehicles, dubbed Ops Utility Vehicles (OUVs), carry a medic and the medical equipment he/she needs for first line combat casualty care. The downside, which became apparent to SAF MOs and combat medics, was the inability of the Ford Everest to carry stretcher cases.

If the Ford F550s seen in Singapore are indeed destined for SAF service, the 4x4 offroad capability and strengthened chassis of these vehicles should provide the SAF Headquarters Medical Corps with a rugged workhorse to enhance medical cover for our SAF servicemen and servicewomen, in peace and war.

The F550 is no stranger to the SAF. Small numbers serve the SAF's crack Special Operations Task Force as ladder carriers. These allow SOTF troopers to execute rapid assault breaching of places of interest several storeys above ground.

Senang Diri will keep track of the Ford F550 ambulance project. Confirmation is expected when the first vehicles are fitted with the beloved MID number plates, thus kicking off a new series of MID plates for enthusiasts to collect. Our spreadsheets are ready. We will be watching.



Postscript: 6 Feb 2014
Comments from a reader in bold.

"The Ford F550 is thought to be the vehicle of choice to replace Mercedes-Benz ambulances that presently serve the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). While a cost-effective lifesaver, the MB ambulances lack a cross-country capability and are less rugged than the Land Rover ambulances which it replaced partially. The latter still serve the SAF though in dwindling numbers."

To my knowledge the SAF MB Ambulances (2010)  (also called Taurus) were to replace the older Ford Transit Ambulance (2005) deployed for non outfield cases (around camp compounds, patient transport to hospitals, after hours patient transport to 24hr medical centres etc) 
The SAF MB Ambulances allowed 4 stretcher cases and more seated casualties to be loaded. And allowed the SAF medical corps a more professional image at public/national events.  
The Ford Transit was a partial replacement for Land Rover Ambulances, but did not have cross country capability. 
Most of the LR Ambulances have now only been used for Outfield duties.  

"The SAF is said to have deployed Ford Everest 4x4s as safety vehicles to accompany troops deployed outfield. These vehicles, dubbed Ops Utility Vehicles (OUVs), carry a medic and the medical equipment he/she needs for first line combat casualty care. The downside, which became apparent to SAF MOs and combat medics, was the inability of the Ford Everest to carry stretcher cases."

I often complained how it was impossible to get a stretcher into the Ford Everest, but it is possible, it requires folding down the front seat, and back seat to reveal a metallic stretcher holder. But in reality, it would take too much time and effort, and severely limits the carrying capacity to just the medic, driver and 1 casualty on a stretcher. 



Acknowledgements
Many thanks to the bunch of you who assisted with the hunt. Happened to be at the Ford agent at just the right time. :-)

You may also like:
Guide to SAF MID vehicle number plates. Click here

13 comments:

charlton said...

With Safety as a core value of SAF, wouldnt come as a surprise that they want their "safety vehicles" to be able to carry a stretcher.

agree too that i dont see the MB doing any cross country thus limiting their reach to troops.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the ambulances be deployed to the local hospital...
another poor thinking and waste of money by the government

charlton said...

sometimes, im just fasinating by how certain things can be framed as a criticism to the govenment.

Anonymous said...

It's hard these days to see a real scoop in mainstream media, let alone one related to defense or the military.

One, I doubt SPH has anyone who can match the level of enthusiasm, knowledge, and connections of Mr. Boey. (Of the three qualities, I value the first most, and I think we can safely say we don't really see it in Singapore dailies.)

Two, true investigative newsreportng doesn't seem to be valued. Cookie cutter press releases with nominal furnishes passed off as news.

When can we see again news as being truly newsworthy again?

Eric

blubber said...

Hear, hear!

Anonymous said...

Right... So an interesting piece of news regarding the potential capabilities of our SAF can be turned into anti-gov propaganda as well. Well done to you, all you keyboard warrior netizens... Our country needs more like you...

Anonymous said...

Right, and maybe more submarines and aircraft...maybe you should write whether we need an aircraft carrier..so that we can base our aircraft..instead of base in America or France..

What do you think.

Anonymous said...

"The SAF is said to have deployed Ford Everest 4x4s as safety vehicles to accompany troops deployed outfield."

Why the use of "said to"? Isn't it a commonly observed practice?

Anonymous said...

The look on the guy's face in the last pic says "I... I will call... Army!"

David Boey said...

Dear Anon 12:21 AM,
You're right.

A straightforward "The SAF deploys Ford Everest 4x4s as safety vehicles..." would have been more apt.

:)

Best regards,

David

Seb said...

DB, the F550 chasis is also in used by the Canadian law enforcement & Canadian Forces. 3 variants LAPV, MPV & RPV. Built by Terradyne Armored Vehicles Inc., known as the GURKHA.

David Boey said...

Thanks Seb. Stay warm where you're at.

Best regards,

David

E Chan said...

Hello David:

I am not sure if my last comment disappeared or what! But hello from Canada.

http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/robert_lafreniere/2010/01-20/military/light/lv_8a-gagetown_aug_08_400.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/Canadian_Army_LSVW_ambulance.jpg

In the Canadian Forces we have the same ambulance replacing (curiously) the Fiat IVECO ambulance which you also have on your blog. The F550 is what we call Militarized Commercial Off The Shelf MILCOTS. They are really good for garrison duties and should only be meant for that or at worst loose gravel tracks. The Milcots are always sexy when new with all the latest civilian creature comforts, but soon would show problems. They tend to have electrical gremlins from integrating 24V military gadgets into 12V systems, structural damage (excessive offroading / bottoming out), corrosion and general rapid deterioration. In the end they end up being struck off early and we are looking for replacements sooner than we planned. Hopefully with your better weather in SG and less exposure your AMBs will fair better. If you are interested in any canadian content let me know! It's always good to have "foregin exchange". I was in SG two years ago and was very impressed with the professionalism of the SAF, especially being mostly conscription based. Your equipment is immac. Cheers, ~Lance