The newest weapon in Sydney, Australia’s firefighting arsenal is part loader, part turbine engine.
It’s called the TAF20, short for Turbine Assisted Firefighting robot, and it was created by EMI Controls by mounting an ‘extinguishing turbine’ to a compact track loader’s loader arms.
According to the EMI website, the TAF20’s giant turbine “is fitted with a nozzle ring which atomizes water and extinguishing foam to form fine particulate matter. This water or water/foam particulate matter is distributed by a propeller.”
And what makes this compact track loader such a powerful firefighting tool, beyond that cannon of course, is that the loader arms allow firefighters to immediately adjust the cannon’s angle of incline allowing the water/foam to be distributed over a wide area (at adequate heights) quickly and for changes in wind to be compensated for, EMI says.
The loader is powered by a 65-horsepower engine and features remote control, allowing firefighters to engage a blaze with serious firepower from a safe distance of up to 1,640 feet.
According to a report from Mashable, the Fire and Rescue New South Wales recently unveiled its own TAF20, touting the machine’s ability to shoot a stream of water 295 feet and spray foam or mist 197 feet. The machine’s propeller can also be used to clear smoke from a room.
The robotic loader cost the department A$310,000 (US$222,131), Mashable reports. You can check out the machine in action in the video below.