President Yoweri Museveni has unveiled Uganda’s first prototype army truck designed for all terrain firefighting situations that can also be used for pest control with minimum human interface.
The tanker manufactured by the production arm of the National Enterprises Corporation (NEC) under the ‘All Terrain Fighting Project’ in Nakasongola district was thought out by the President who tasked the engineering section to develop a concept that combines army trucks with fire and pest control mechanism on all terrains.
The President who invited the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Uganda Christopher Krafft to witness the ceremony noted that the people in the west are faced with many wild fires but had not mastered the fire-fighting concept very well.
Museveni said in Africa firefighting was done traditionally but is now being modernized. He said he decided to combine fire fighting with military trucks that can move on any terrain.
“We used to use rudimentary methods of fighting fire like using tree branches…but now we have combined military knowledge in building this to help with fires and now pest control. I also want to introduce this to the Americans because they have huge fires,” said Museveni America, Europe and Australia have experienced some of the worst fire epidemics.
Using the military BMP design military personnel career, the tanker assembled at Luwero Industries in Nakasongola is mounted with water tanks and fire fighting equipment that are self-cooling internally.
The machine is designed to minimize the use of human firefighters and reduce human deaths. As opposed to rubber tyres, the truck uses a chain link.
The truck is mounted with water tanks and pipes which can spray 12 meters in different directions. It can also un-mount the water tank and fit in fire-fighting equipment to put off fire of any magnitude.
The Deputy General Manager and Chief Engineer in charge of the project at the army facility in Nakasongola Eng. Gerald Lumu said the President who is also the commander of Uganda’s armed forces tasked them to design a truck that can fight fires and can access all terrains as opposed to people moving on feet. He said the truck can also be used for pest control and large scale spraying.
“This machine was a mastermind of the Commander-In-Chief, having thought about how to modify the traditional way of putting off fire, where people would use tree branches. Also given the high mobility of the locusts, the President tasked us to see how this fire fighting machine can be used for government to be able to effectively and efficiently defeat fires and locusts and other emergencies,” he said.
The President congratulated the NEC members for the product and also noted that despite the fact that the machine was still heavy, it could still be modified to be lighter and help in the fight against locusts and other pests.
He reiterated that once this was done, Uganda would be able to make more of these fire fighting and pest control machines.
In attendance were the Managing Director NEC Lt. Gen. James Mugira and a team of Ugandan engineers.