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Fiat moves into Border Protection

Gotcha: Australia's borders will be a little safer with specially equipped Fiat Ducatos on the look-out for contraband.

Ducato light trucks lighten the load of customs officers on the beat

28 Jun 2010

FIAT has delivered of the first two of 12 cab-chassis Fiat Ducatos fitted out with mobile x-ray equipment to Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS).

The new units – replacing vehicles up to 15 years old – will help to check about 1.5 million air cargo consignments a year in joint operations with state and federal police.

Inspecting the new mobile x-ray units at Fiat’s Sydney headquarters, home affairs minister Brendan O’Connor said the new mobile x-ray units would help to detect illegal drugs and weapons.

The remaining Ducatos will be supplied to the ACBPS by 2013, with the cab-chassis built in Italy to specific requirements and shipped to Australia where custom body builder Mills-Tui fabricates the enclosed body to house the detection equipment, including the Smiths Detection x-ray equipment.

The vehicles ordered by ACBPS are based on the 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel Ducato 160 Multijet Power version of the single enclosed cab chassis – the first in the country. Single-cab models are usually imported with an open cabin to be converted to motorhomes.

The unit weighs 3800kg dry, and about 4200kg with fuel, equipment and officers on board.

Customs has operated mobile x-ray units since the early 1990s, and while the Smiths Detection x-ray technology is not new, the layout is, according to Nick Riley, supervisor technology and enforcement capabilities branch, ACBPS.

Mr Riley said occupational health and safety aspects had been improved.

“It’s basically a mobile search centre, so it has the ability to x-ray, it’s able to have our trace technology deployed as well, as well as carry all the tools and equipment they need to efficiently search cargo.

“It the same technology that we have available at a physical location.”

A Euro 4 compliant diesel generator, which can run the x-ray equipment and source fuel from the Ducato’s main fuel tank as a back-up system to 240-volt AC mains power, replaces a less efficient, less versatile gas generator.

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