October 27, 2003: Wildfire Fighting Assistance Near Santa Clarita

  • Published
  • Air Force Flight Test Center

Responding to calls from beleaguered firefighters, the United States Air Force Flight Test Center dispatched a P-19 Crash Rescue Vehicle and crew to combat wildfires in the Los Padres National Forest. The Edwards Air Force Base crew used water and foam to protect homes near Santa Clarita. Strong winds and difficult terrain had spread the most intensive California wildfires in a generation.

The A/S32P-19 Truck, Airport Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) is a highly mobile self-sufficient fire-fighting vehicle. It has a diesel engine powered, 4x4 all-wheel-drive chassis designed to fight fires over any terrain, and be compact enough to serve as a mobile firefighting vehicle, able to be loaded on most cargo aircraft and deployed anywhere in the world. The truck, fully loaded, can accelerate to 50 MPH in 25 seconds and has a top speed of 65 miles per hour. The truck is also capable of maneuvering in difficult terrain at low speed whilst discharging a fire-fighting agent simultaneously. It can ascend and descend a 60 percent grade and negotiate an 18 inch obstacle. A single diesel engine powers both the truck drive train and water pump.

The P-19 is designed to be the first response vehicle on the scene of an aircraft fire emergency to rapidly extinguish aircraft fires. This truck is a mandatory flight line operations safety requirement and is essential at bases that have a flying mission. The P-19 also provides fire-fighting capability for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve installations located at municipal airports. An installation's P-19 requirement is determined by the type of aircraft frequenting the aerial facility and the resulting gallons per minute of fire-fighting agent required. This vehicle provides aircrew, passenger, weapons, and airframe fire protection at a crash site. The P-19 is air transportable by C-130 or larger aircraft.

Starting in the early 1980s, the 4x4 P-19 Truck, ARFF was procured in three different models: the P-19, the P-19A and the P-19B. Oshkosh, Freightliner-Rosenbauer, and JRI Inc. were vendors. Crash Rescue Equipment Services, Inc. (Dallas, TX) obtained a contract to re-manufacture the P-19 trucks in service starting in 1998/1999. Approximately 800 P-19 vehicles were procured by the USAF, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and USMC.

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