Supplied by dealer Aquila Truck Centre, the vehicle is based on an Isuzu Forward 7.5 tonne N75.190 rigid chassis and provides a communications hub and base for WMAS commanders for the duration of an incident, acting as a mobile mini headquarters.
Tony Page, general manager fleet services at WMAS, says: “The unit will enable a tactical command post to be deployed at the incident ground, housing operators and commanders, while also accommodating multi-agency responses, where required.” The vehicle will also be used as a regional command training suite, he adds.
Providing the role previously carried out by three separate WMAS vehicles, the truck features a custom manufactured body with slide-out side pods, which house a conference/briefing room facility, together with seating for up to nine people.
This area is also equipped with a conference table, briefing screens, video and phone conferencing units and eight operational laptop positions. A separate operational area houses two workstations with fixed PCs and peripherals, as well as a 46-inch interactive touchscreen for team briefings.
The command vehicle is equipped with a ‘Sherpa’ automatic pole climbing camera delivery system, manufactured by Excelerate. The optical infra-red camera enables real-time video sharing over high signal loss areas, such as mountainous or built-up locations. Mounted on a telescopic 5m mast, this extends coverage within the incident ground and allows surveillance and real-time transmission of high-quality images over distances in excess of one kilometre.
An on-board video server streams video content back to WMAS HQ, and other authorised locations, as well as allowing simultaneous displaying, recording, reviewing and exporting of images by operational staff during incident, without any loss of recording capability.
“We realised that the complex body specification would prove to be quite a challenge,” says Page. “However, with the proven payload of the Isuzu, we were also confident that this was achievable.
“From a technical viewpoint, the weight and overall footprint of the Isuzu rigid chassis was ideal for this detailed specification and, of course, we had the proven previous experience of the durability and reliability of the Isuzu brand in service.”