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Custom off-road “Bulldog” ambulances at MAFR

Off-road ambulance

Melrose Air Force Range has a new fully-equipped ambulatory vehicle to tackle the terrain out at the range. These "Bulldog" ambulances focus on ensuring safety of troops while being able to provide extreme off-road access.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Marcel Williams)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

Melrose Air Force Range has two new fully-equipped ambulatory vehicles to tackle the terrain.

The vehicles, called bulldogs, were purchased to help ensure the safety of the troops.

“Each of these vehicles cost $350,000 and are equipped for immediate medical care: gases, fluids, oxygen, anything that you need,” said Steven Coffin, Director of Range Management.

These vehicles enable extreme off-road access on MAFR, which includes 70,000 acres of extreme terrain, including large, deep sandy areas to steep, rocky cliffs and mesas.

Medical responders face a difficult driving challenge as the majority of training acreage is serviced by unpaved roads and trails. The open landscape of the range consists mostly of terrain that routinely prevents a standard four-wheel drive ambulance from venturing off road, especially in wet weather.

“The bulldogs can each hold six patients and tackle the harsh terrain at MAFR. There is no other machine out there with this capability,” Coffin said.

It supports an 18-foot ambulance cab with electric entry and exit ramp and external storage on the sides and roof. It is a 2-door cab with complete brush and roll-over protection. Its max speed is 65 mph and has a vertical step climb capability of 18”.

Despite the modifications for terrain, the vehicle must fit standard ambulance equipment for ventilation, airway, monitoring, defibrillation, immobilization, bandages, medication administration, infection control and injury prevention.

Even though bulldogs have traditional ambulance aspects built within, these vehicles are not utilized like a traditional ambulance where it takes patients from the site to a hospital.

Instead, Coffin explained that these tactical vehicles assist in getting patients from a crash site on MAFR, regardless of weather and terrain conditions, to a controlled environment where they can be transported from there for patient care.

Coffin also said that operations at the range will run more efficiently with the use of the bulldogs- the only two vehicles of their kind in the Air Force.