Grissom's fire department brings new truck into fleet

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Rachael Barton
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Ongoing fleet upgrades at the Grissom Fire Department have brought a new fire truck into service. The Rosenbauer Panther ultra high pressure airfield rescue and fire fighting truck is the newest and most up-to date ARFF truck in the Air Force inventory.

“Aircraft firefighting is significantly different from structural firefighting,” said Klein Tomlinson, assistant chief of operations for the Grissom Fire Department. “P-23 trucks are used by the Air Force specifically for fighting aircraft fires."

P-23 is a military designator for ARFF trucks with large fire suppression agent capacity to put out aircraft fires.

“It is tied for the largest fire truck in Grissom’s firefighting fleet,” he said. “It’s a huge truck that is about 10 feet wide, 12 feet tall and 39 feet long.”

ARFF trucks need to be big and powerful in order to carry large volumes of water and fire fighting foam to any location where an aircraft fire needs to be extinguished. 

“The new P-23 can carry up to 3,000 gallons of water,” said Tomlinson. “It also carries 423 gallons of aqueous film forming foam, a foam that is highly efficient in suppressing aircraft fires.”

P-23 ARFFs can enable fire fighters to attack aircraft fires from a safe distance. On top of the Rosenbauer Panther is a turret which is capable of spraying water or AFFF on board up to 200 feet.

“This P-23 truck replaces one of our old P-23 trucks, which was nearly 20 years old,” he said. “We expect that this truck will be in service at Grissom for up to 25 years.”

The 46 civilian firefighters at Grissom performed training and maintenance to the truck to prepare for bringing it into service at Grissom recently.

The traditional reservist fire fighters serving at Grissom will also perform familiarization training in the operation of the new truck, including live fire training scenarios.

“The Rosenbauer is a very new style of truck for us,” said Tomlinson. “Though it operates much the same as our other ARFF vehicles, its radical new design brings a different feel to what we do.”

Firefighters at Grissom are praising the capabilities and design of the truck.

“The Space Age design and arrangement are welcome changes and our drivers are adapting quickly,” said Tomlinson. “I have received nothing but positive feedback from our drivers who appreciate the changes and have recognized the benefits the new truck provides.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. Men and women from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.