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They say the first step to solving a problem is recognizing there is a problem in the first place.

A lot of what we are trying to do at The Sirens Project involves solving many different types of problems. Usually these problems are UAV or weather related such as: weight and packaging of UAV components, mobile launching mechanisms, deciding on a chase target area, or “I’m super hungry, but is Flying J meatloaf really a good idea?”

During the 2015 Storm Season, we learned the solution to many of these problems. Some solutions were an easy fix, while others were somewhat of a journey. One problem we encountered last season was our chase vehicle. The 2006 Xterra 4×4 makes a great chase vehicle, but for the amount of gear we use (luggage, three flying wings, fpv equipment, and camera equipment) things were cramped. Additionally, if we wanted to add more personnel it would be impossible without another vehicle. We decided that a bigger, more purpose built vehicle was in order. The next vehicle we chose needed to meet several base line requirements:

-Reliability (High MPI – Miles Per Issue)

-Size (Seat 5 occupants with gear comfortably)

-Serviceability (Easily serviced by most mechanics)

-Parts availability (Off-The-Shelf components)

-Relative High Fuel Economy for a high occupant vehicle


The 7.3L Powerstroke turbo diesel has paved a legendary name for itself in terms of reliability. It may not be the most powerful diesel ever made, but it ranks as one of the most reliable. A few non internal mods (intake, exhaust, and tune) can really wake the motor up while maintaining reliability. Diesel motors also tend to make better fuel economy compared to their gas counter parts.

With the motor in mind, we began to look at different chassis configurations for our base platform. The Excursion and crew cab Super Duty both crossed our minds, but one platform stood out above the rest promising the most potential for our mission, the Type I Ambulance.

Type I Ambulances are the truck variant; opposed to Type II and III which are van variants. We chose the Type I because there is a much more expansive after market for the F-350 vs the E-350. Most ambulances are 2WD; so in choosing the Type I, a 4WD conversion will be more economical.

Another advantage the ambulance has over other available chassis configurations is the already present infrastructure for large amounts of auxiliary electrical equipment. With dual alternators, inverter, and a plethora of outlets it has a head start on becoming the mobile command center we envision. However, that goes without saying that there is still a lot of work ahead of us in cleaning up the existing electrical system…



We have a winding road ahead of us to turn this ambulance into the perfect drone recovery vehicle. Join us as we realize the solution to one of our problems. May we have more success than eating Flying J meatloaf.

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