BY ALAN M. PETRILLO
Aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles are putting on muscle, often carrying bigger payloads than ever before; having more compartment storage space; and sporting larger, more powerful pumps and engines.
ARFF manufacturers have changed their rigs to help operators get to an incident quicker, have greater visibility at the scene, and be more precise in putting extinguishing agent in the proper place.
Matthew J. Reda, international ARFF product manager for E-ONE, says E-ONE recently brought out a new version of its Titan® 4×4 ARFF vehicle, which has a redesigned cockpit-style cab, expanded windshield and side glass area for improved visibility, new pump and engines, and expanded compartment space.
Reda says the new Titan cab and windshield slopes forward and sits lower on the body to achieve greater visibility for the driver and other occupants than found in previous models of the rig. “With the new windshield design, an average size operator in the driver’s seat can see as close as nine feet in front of him, an improvement over traditional windshield designs,” Reda points out. In addition, the top turret is positioned lower and out in front of the rig’s operator, so it’s not necessary to look at an upward angle to see where the water stream is being placed.
Reda says the cab interior redesign is “similar to a military Apache helicopter where all cockpit controls are located to the center and front and available to both occupants of the vehicle.” The driver can control the pump, all turrets and handlines, the engine, and all lighting using a multiplexed system controlled through a programmable touch screen.
The new Titan 4×4 has its compartment space increased to 360 cubic feet of usable space in eight compartments, and both the engine and the pump are different from the previous version. The new Titan 4×4 is powered by a Scania 670-horsepower (hp) Tier 4 diesel engine and a Twin Disc six-speed automatic transmission. The pump change was made to a Hale 8FG rated at 3,000 gallons per minute (gpm) at 165 pounds per square inch (psi), although the pump will provide greater gpm from a pressurized water source.
The Titan 4×4 has a 1,585-gallon water tank, a 225-gallon foam tank, and 500 pounds of dry chemical and can pump any mix and combination of those three products through its Akron HydroChem technology nozzles where dry chemical is encapsulated in the water stream, allowing the dry chemical to be propelled farther. Its standard roof turret is rated at 750 gpm and has a dual-flow capability dropping to 375 gpm. The bumper turret will flow 250 gpm or more.
Reda adds that E-ONE is developing its 6×6 ARFF rig to use a Scania 770-hp engine, the same transmission and pump as the Titan 4×4; to have 320 cubic feet of storage space, with a 3,170-gallon water tank; and to have a 445-gallon foam tank. The 6×6 will be introduced this year, he expects.
Oshkosh Airport Products
Jack Bermingham, ARFF products manager for Oshkosh Airport Products, says Oshkosh’s more recent platform launch was in the spring of 2017 with its Striker 8×8 ARFF unit, powered by twin Scania DC16 770-hp engines and dual Allison 4800 EVS seven-speed automatic electronic transmissions, with a proprietary Oshkosh-designed power uniter that directs engine power to drive components and firefighting systems. “Both engines can power the driveline, and the operator can use a clutch to power the pump at the same time to allow the vehicle to do pump and roll at any speed,” Bermingham points out.
The Striker 8×8 carries a roof turret delivering up to 1,585 gpm that is controlled by a joystick in nonaspirating and aspirating versions, a Snozzle high reach extendable turret (HRET) available in multiple lengths with below-grade discharge, a nonaspirating electric joystick-controlled bumper turret flowing 300 gpm, a 4,500-gallon water tank, a 540-gallon foam tank, and a Waterous CRQA single-stage pump capable of pump and roll and 1,950 gpm at 240 psi.
Bermingham says the Striker uses a K-Factor system on the Snozzle HRET to aid in piercing an aircraft by giving the user visual feedback. “As you look at a boom 65 feet above ground, depth perception can be a challenge,” he points out. “The sensors on K-Factor at the head of the Snozzle give feedback through the heads-up display showing the angle of the piercing tip and the distance of the tip from the aircraft, allowing the operator to get into the optimal position for piercing the aircraft.”
Oshkosh’s Striker uses Eco-EFP electronic foam proportioning, Bermingham notes, that determines foam is discharging at the correct percentage. “There are environmental concerns about discharging foam for required testing, so this onboard system allows the operator to use water to simulate foam and get an accurate reading that the truck is proportioning correctly, measuring its performance in accord with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 412, Standard for Evaluating Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Foam Equipment, and NFPA 414, Standard for Aircraft Rescue and Fire-Fighting Vehicles,” he says. “The system stores the test data for up to three years.”
The Striker 8×8 has “a panoramic forward view for unmatched visibility,” Bermingham says, seats up to five persons in a 275-square-foot space, and uses advanced electronics for a better user interface and easier troubleshooting. “Our Telematic system allows airport incident commanders (ICs) to get live, up-to-date information about the vehicle on their laptops and phones, and our Readiness Factor software allows ICs to know how ready the vehicle is, whether it is full of water and fuel, and when it’s undergone maintenance,” he adds. “These systems are available on all our custom chassis 4×4, 6×6, and 8×8 Striker platforms.”
Steve Reedy, vice president at Rosenbauer Minnesota, says that Rosenbauer brought out its new Panther 6×6 ARFF truck early in 2017 powered by a 700-hp Volvo diesel engine and a twin disc electronic transmission with a power shift function that allows the operator to engage the pump at any speed. “You don’t have to slow down to be able to put the pump in gear and flow water, foam, or a combination of the two,” Reedy says.
The dual-rear-axle Panther 6×6 ARFF truck has a 3,000-gallon water tank, a 400-gallon foam tank, and a 2,000-gpm Rosenbauer N80 pump. The rig has a Rosenbauer Stinger HRET with piercing nozzle, a 600-gpm roof turret, and a 660-gpm bumper turret. “The body configurations are customized for ergonomic design, and the storage options offer fast, easy equipment access and solid body strength,” Reedy says.
He notes that the Rosenbauer Panther 4×4 ARFF truck also was redesigned, now powered by a Volvo Tier 4 diesel engine and carrying a Rosenbauer N80 2,000-gpm pump, a 1,500-gallon water tank, and a 200-gallon foam tank.
“We took our new Panther 6×6 on a road trip last year through the Midwest, into the Southwest, and then through the Southern states, visiting airports and industry shows along the way,” Reedy points out. “We traveled 20,000 miles, visited close to 50 airports, and each one of them got to test out the new Panther. We received a tremendously positive response from all of them. This fall we are taking the new Panther to the West Coast, Mountain, and Southwestern states to let airports in those areas get a first-hand test of it.”
ALAN M. PETRILLO is a Tucson, Arizona-based journalist, the author of three novels and five nonfiction books, and a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Editorial Advisory Board. He served 22 years with the Verdoy (NY) Fire Department, including in the position of chief.