The fire services department of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has inducted new vehicles to expand their fleet so as to provide timely and efficient response in case of emergencies.
“The operational objective of the Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) service should be to achieve response times of two minutes and not exceeding three minutes to the end of each runway, as well as to any other part of the movement area,” as stated in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Airport Service Manual, Part-1, Rescue and Fire Fighting. If ARFF services are able to achieve this operational objective then the chances of survival in aircraft crash increases manifold. With the aim to attain this objective, AAI and ARFF have taken some steps to improve their infrastructure.
In order to effectively save lives in case of an aircraft accident or any emergency occurring at the airport as well as the area surrounding the airport, having adequate provision of proper means to deal with the crisis is imperative. ARFF must also have proper equipment to react instantly if the need for extinguishing a fire arises.
This is the reason why AAI has a fleet of 262 sophisticated, high performance and word class Airfield Crash Fire Tenders (ACFTs) and the latest addition to this fleet is 50 Rosenbauer Panther ACFTs.
Induction of Rosenbauer Panther ACFTs by AAI
AAI has inducted 50 Rosenbauer Panther ACFTs from M/S. Rosenbauer AG, Austria. These new ACFTs are deployed at 23 AAI airports at Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar, Paykong, Varanasi, Udaipur, Khajuraho, Dehradun, Bhopal, Aurangabad, Vadodara, Indore, Rajkot, Gaya, Ranchi, Raipur, Agartala, Dimapur, Imphal, Lengpui, Dibrugarh, Vijayawada, Surat, and Tirupathi. The cost of each Rosenbauer ACFTs is INR 39.8 million.
Panther is a highly sophisticated custom-made fire fighting vehicle that is built by Rosenbauer on a customised chassis. The Rosenbauer Panther fire truck has been synonymous with speed, safety, design and outstanding fire fighting performance. The trucks are equipped with sophisticated fire fighting and rescue equipment to meet any type of emergencies faced by an aircraft.
ACFTs are fully built-up unit and have a minimum rated water capacity, as per ICAO requirements, of 10,000 litres through monitor, side lines and ground sweep/under truck nozzles. In addition to primary extinguishing agent, another 250 kg of complimentary extinguishing agent as Dry Chemical Powder (DCP) is also provided.
A closed box frame profile and welded cross beams ensure maximum torsional stiffness of the chassis; together with single axle suspension and helical springs, this gives maximum mobility both on and off-road.
These technical specifications of Rosenbauer Panther ACFTs are formulated based on the ICAO recommendations and meet the NFPA-414:2012 norms. ACFTs are fitted with state of the art accessories.
It has Euro 5 compliant engine with an acceleration of 0-80 km within 28 seconds, fully loaded. Apart from the 10,000 litre water tank capacity, as mentioned above, it also has a foam tank capacity of 1,300 litres. The roof mounted turret can spray an astounding 6,000 litres-per-minute up to a distance of 90 metres using powerful built-in pumps.
The driver/crew cabin is ECE R29 European Standard compliant for frontal impact crash test. This certification attests that in case of a frontal impact the crew survival space is not compromised. MaxView panoramic view and glass doors on the sides ensure maximum field of vision, while at the same time providing increased safety for the crew. Emergency operation of all relevant fire fighting functions can be carried out from the cabin itself. Electrical turret operation through pistol grips and/or joystick is also available for targeted application of the extinguishing agent.