Developed jointly with the RNLI, the Talus MB-4H is the first tractor to be specifically designed for the task of launching inflatable lifeboats. Previous lifeboat tractors had been converted from commercial designs.
It was necessary to design a special tractor because commercial designs were becoming more difficult and costly to adapt and could not meet the RNLI requirements, such as ground clearance, steering ability and full waterproofing.
Development took place at Knighton, at the Company Test facility. The prototype was then tested at lifeboat stations with the most arduous launching conditions. Trials were completed and the first tractor went on station at New Brighton in November 1990.
|Power:||105 hp - Diesel Turbo|
|Drawbar Pull:||5-6 tonnes|
|Height:||2.75m (Hatch Down)|
|Winch Wire Pull:||5 tonnes|
- The driving seat can face either way and control is by steering wheel and engine throttle pedal for each direction. The fully automatic transmission gives a ground speed corresponding to external load conditions and engine output power. The winch is operated by a simple haul/stop/payout lever protected by a deadman's pedal.
- The tractor has a totally enclosed cab for the driver. The main front and rear hulls are fully waterproof. The tractor can operate to a depth of 1.6 metres calm level sea conditions.
- Because the tractor has been specifically designed, it has been possible to build in a very efficient air cooling system for use on the beach; when the tractor enters the water a pair of protected keel coolers work automatically, and allow use of full power when wading.
- In the event of the machine getting into difficulties it can be battened down and left on the sea bed and recovered at low tide. The cab is specially designed to fully flood in order to provide stability, when submerged.
- Two quartz iodine headlights are fitted at each end in integral glazed waterproof boxes which also contain side and tail lights, turn indicators and blue flashing lights. In addition an extra two quartz iodine floodlights are mounted at each end of the cab roof.