Did you see the new Panther at Interschutz?

Published:  24 June, 2015

Whirling street dancing, flashing lights and loud fanfare welcomed the fourth generation of one of the world’s most successful ARFF vehicles.

The introduction ceremony for Rosenbauer’s new Panther had been hotly anticipated, especially as two Panthers remained stubbornly covered up by sheets right until the evening of the day before Interschutz kicked off.

The wait was worth it however as the many features of the first ARFF to meet the environment-friendly Euro 6 standard finally came to light.

So what is new?

Three areas have been focussed on – occupant safety, extinguishing power and operating comfort.

Rosenbauer say that crew safety was their number one priority during the design of their latest offering, and it shows.

A new X frame forms a solid brace around the driver’s cab, while visibility has been increased by slimming down the A column and removing the C column. The experience is not unlike sitting in a helicopter cockpit.

As you’d expect the Austrian-made Panther also meets the European ECE R29-3 standard for occupant protection during head-on collisions.

LED technology has been used throughout the vehicle and especially at the cabin entrance where accidental mishaps can occur when the pressure is on. New daylight driving lights have been added to enhance visibility in bad weather.

There are driver-assistance systems aplenty too, covering tyre-pressure monitoring, electronic roll stability control and even anti-collision radar system warning.

Optional systems number a ‘bird’s-eye view’ display of the surrounding area and the EMEREC DEVS (Driver Enhanced Vision System), a navigation system designed for airport operations.

The next area for improvement has been the vehicle’s extinguishing technology. Extinguishing media are controlled from a central display in the middle of the cockpit which also features a new backlit joystick and handles for the monitors. Rosenbauer says that these have also been reengineered to make fingertip steering more intuitive and precise.

Two new, integrated pumps with an automatic around-the-pump foam proportioning system (Fixmix 2) have been developed that perform at 8,000 l/min (10 bar) and 6,500 l/min (10 bar) along with two matching new roof turrets, one flowing at 9,500 l/m (the RM80) and meeting ICAO cat 10 airports and the other at 4,750 l/min (the RM35) for ICAO cat 9 airports. A new rotatable front extinguishing boom is available for the RM35.

For such a premium vehicle one would expect top-of-the-range comfort and Rosenbauer has risen to this challenge, offering electrically operated windows and folding displays, an automatic rain sensor, automatic air conditioning, an electrically darkened roof window, as well as storage for cup holders and documents.

The company has clearly made a concerted effort to style the Panther along the lines of its feline namesake. Aside from the fact that the Interschutz demo vehicle was black as night, the Panthers’ daytime driving lights make them resemble the eyes of a big cat. In an imaginative flight of fancy, Rosenbauer’s promotional material said that the forward thrust of the Panther’s silhouette and the lowered cab made it look like a real panther ready to pounce.

Some airports have already pounced on the new Panthers, with a 6x6 version destined for Singapore and a 4x4 headed for Qatar. Those airports wanting to jump on the 8x8 version will have to wait until 2017. 

  • Operation Florian

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