Listen to the roar of Antwerp's Panther
Published: 01 July, 2008
Antwerp Airport’s (ICAO Cat.7) new container unit is a first for Belgium. Based on a Renault Kerax chassis on a 6x4 wheelbase, this vehicle weighs a massive 26 tonnes and features a huge 8,000 litre water tank with a 450l/m capacity pump. There is space in the cab for three people, and on top of the vehicle a sixteen tonne Palfinger winch is mounted.
The airport fire department now owns four containers (10m3) of which two are for rubble and aggregate. The third one is electrically powered by a 163 kVA generator, and is used in applications that require electricity (eg submergible pumps). The fourth is a second-hand water container (8,000 litre) – formally owned by Antwerp Fire Department – which was used as a water buffer for major road works on Antwerp’s ringroad.
Commander de Decker explains that they also recently bought a command and control vehicle for use around the airport. “This is a Nissan Terrano II, which offers space for seven crew members, and features a Haztec 8-8111-7 tannoy. It also has a radio installed, which is set up for communications with air traffic control; the internal airport fire service radio circuit; as well with Antwerp Fire Department. Furthermore, it contains an SCBA set and intervention turnout gear for my own use.”
The third newly-acquired unit is a Mercedes Sprinter rapid intervention vehicle, which has been specifically adapted to the airport fire authority’s own personal specifications by Belgian company Fire Technics, based in Bredene. The cab offers space for three persons, and the superstructure has been adapted to house a range of rescue tools, including a Holmatro spreader and cutter, an extinguishing unit with CAFS, AFFF foam, a Honda power generator, Resqtec and Vetter lifting bags, a medical kit, and a selection of equipment for pulling aircraft.
And that is not all, “We are very proud to announce that we are the first Belgian airport to have a Rosenbauer Panther (6x6) crash tender, which has a Caterpillar C-18, Euro 3, engine with a capacity of 518 HP. The Panther features a panoramic crew cab with air conditioning, offering space for three persons in the front and two in the back,” explains Commander de Deckers.
As an extra safety feature a reversing camera is mounted on the back of the Panther. The radio system in the cab has the same connections as in the rapid intervention vehicle (air traffic control, internal and Antwerp Fire Department). Other features on the tender include a Teklite lightmast and a Federal PA 300 series sound installation.
“The extinguishing capacity on the Panther is considerable. There is a Rosenbauer 7,000 lpm pump at 10 bar, a 1,500 lpm bumper turret, and a roof monitor that performs at 6,000 lpm. The vehicle carries two hose reels, one a low pressure reel with a 40-metre reach, and the other a high pressure one with a 60-metre reach. In addition the vehicle carries four compressed air cylinders.
“The watertank has a 12,000 litre capacity, which is complemented by a 1,250 litre foam tank. The vehicle features Rosenbauer’s in-house developed Foamatic RVMA 500 proportioning system,” adds the Commander.
Last but not least, this firefighting giant is also equipped with 500 kg of powder, contained in two barrels of 250 kg, which can be utilised either via the bumper turret or a 30 metre hose.
Commander de Deckers concludes, “The Panther replaced our former FAUN crash tender, which was put into action in 1977, and it helps us greatly in our quest for modernisation of the airport fire and rescue service’s equipment. Our new appliances enable us to deliver an even safer, more reliable and speedier response to incidents.”