Offroad Trucks Australia, the WA-based national distributor of Tatra trucks, has signalled a move outside its exclusive domain of severe off-road capability, with a new fire and emergency tender destined to stir the present field of metro and suburban F&E trucks.
With most all-wheel drive tenders presently derived from on-highway trucks, the Tatra T815 brings a sophisticated driveline and suspension that seems tailored to the urgency, as well as the rough and tumble of Fire and Emergency support.
The Tatra will no doubt be a heavier rig than its competition – up to almost a tonne – however, the offset is a chassis that can meet the most severe load and road conditions possible with big margins of safety and performance.
Importantly, the unique independent swing axle suspension with air bellows and coil springs preserves and protects the body, tanks and equipment by soaking up the worst of road and track impacts.
At the same time all-wheel traction is maintained by driver-selected locking inter-axle and axle differentials. Prop shafts are enclosed in support tubes.
The front axle is suspended by airbags, while the rear unit has coil springs and air bellows mounted above the driveshaft centreline. The air bellows pressure is controlled by a regulator valve that reads rear half-axle load with constant camber.
Both axles are supported with stabiliser bars.
An Allison 4500 six-speed transmission connects to Tatra’s own two-speed static shift transfer case. The transmission PTO drives the unit’s water pump and can be operated while moving.
Under the floor is Tatra’s own 13-litre air-cooled turbocharged and intercooled V8 diesel. It’s a Euro V unit and churns out 435hp, but more importantly, 2100Nm of torque at just 1000rpm, ideal for the crawl and loiter performance fire tenders often have to deliver.
This V8 has earned its stripes in some of the most extreme conditions and temperatures around the globe. Operators are known to favour its ability to traverse the most dangerous country without fear of spiking coolant hoses or puncturing radiators.
All-round disc brakes are fitted with ABS. Load sensing keeps everything tidy.
Tatra’s cab will seat six, with the front two seats air suspended. The steering column adjusts for both reach and tilt. The four seats in the rear are equipped with B.A. brackets and headrests and spare cylinders are located between the brackets.
There are two auxiliary hitches on the front bumper. A 40 mm diameter pin for 900 kg unbraked trailer and 3500 kg braked trailer with overrun brake is at the rear.
A Ramsey RE 50.7 electric wire rope winch is fitted to the hitch on the front bumper. It has a 30-metre rope length and a maximum line pull force of 50.7 kN.
The body, storage and pumping equipment are all manufactured by THT in the Czech Republic, one of the largest suppliers of fully built up fire and rescue vehicles in Europe.
The electrical system, pump equipment, warning light array, acoustic alarms and power and air supply systems are well proven.
The aluminium body has side stowage compartments that have roller shutters with full width handles. Locks of all roller shutters on the superstructure can be operated by one common key for each vehicle.
The compartment floors are made of aluminium plate, while the bottom of the pumping equipment compartment is sheet-metal.
A non-slip operating platform with guard-railing forms the roof of the superstructure body, which is above the top level of the water tank. The top platform is also used for storage of bulky fire equipment.
The tanks for water and foam concentrate are in one fiberglass unit, holding 3,000-litres of water and 260-litres of foam concentrate.
THT’s PKA 3000 – 250 fire pump delivers both low-pressure, high-pressure and/or combined operation and is equipped with automatic thermal relief valve that provides the protection against overheating.
The new T815 is likely to find strong support from fire authorities that seek to combine essential emergency gear with previously unavailable on and off-road agility.
For more information, go to www.offroadtrucks.com.au