Rosenbauer launched the fourth-generation design of its Panther 8×8 aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle in Vienna on 5 October.
The Austrian manufacturer already reports orders for 16 vehicles from major hubs.
In a launch presentation attended by Jane’s , company officials described three main improvements in the new Panther 8×8 over its predecessor design: improved driving dynamics; an improved and more accurate extinguishing performance; and better safety via an ECE R29-3 crash-tested cabin. The chassis, bodywork, firefighting equipment, and electronics are all made by Rosenbauer.
The first-generation Panther 8×8 made its debut at Geneva Airport in Switzerland in 1992. Earlier variants are still in use there, as well as in airports serving Athens, Moscow, Oslo, Prague, Shanghai (Pudong), Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and New Delhi, to name but a few examples.
The latest Panther 8×8 is available with a shorter or longer wheelbase, with up to 19,000 litres of extinguishing agent and/or water on board. The 52-tonne vehicle is powered by two coupled Volvo D16 Euro 5 diesel engines, producing 700 hp each, although more powerful Euro 6 engines are available. In order to reach fires and other incidents on the airfield rapidly, the new vehicle can accelerate from 0 to 80 km/h in less than 25 seconds, with a top speed of more than 135 km/h.
If the Volvo D16s are decoupled, one engine drives the wheels while the other powers the pump for pump-and-roll operation. A reworked drive concept for both engines allows a shorter switching time from pump-and-roll into driving mode. Vehicle dynamics and stability were also boosted by modifications to axle load distribution and a reduction in the overall centre of gravity.
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