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Friday, January 27, 2012

USAF P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV)

The United States Air Force firefighters have a new firefighting vehicle to combat fires. The new P-34 Rapid Intervention Vehicle is the first vehicle in the Air Force's crash response fleet to use ultra high pressure firefighting technology and is made by Pierce Manufacturing.

With a capacity of 500 gallons of aggregate firefighting agent, the P-34 RIV will be smaller and more agile than the older vehicles currently in the Air Force's crash response fleet. Built on a Ford F550 chassis with an enhanced front axle, the cab is designed to accommodate three firefighters and their equipment. The UHP turret, mounted on the front bumper, is powered by a four-stage, high-pressure centrifugal pump that discharges 60 gallons of firefighting agent per minute. The turret is designed to be joystick operated by the driver in the cab. The RIV can deploy the UHP turret while modulating around the fire, or from a static position.

CMSgt Jim Podolske, USAF (RET), who I had the honor to server under & with back-in-the-day, and who is a Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency (AFCESA) firefighting subject matter expert now at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida had the following to say about the P-34 RIV...

"This will be the first firefighting vehicle in the U.S. Air Force to use new ultra-high pressure firefighting technology," said Jim Podolske.

Mr. Podolske explains, "For example, a 1,000-gallon vehicle that discharges 1,000 gallons per minute yields one minute of firefighting capability at the scene," Mr. Podolske. "With new UHP technology, that same 1,000-gallon vehicle is now equivalent to 3,500 gallons of firefighting capability."

"We can operate the turret and two hand lines simultaneously," Mr. Podolske said. "This new UHP technology can also penetrate a hidden fire or a 3-D running fuel fire without impacting the safety of our firefighters."

"In 2010, the average price tag to replace a 1,000 gallon P-19 was $564,000 each," Mr. Podolske said. "The new 500-gallon UHP truck has the firefighting capability of a 1,500 to 1,750-gallon vehicle at a cost that's significantly less. The Air Force is in the process of buying at least 207 RIVs, which will reduce the age of our vehicle fleet and also help us buy down our vehicle recapitalization rate. That means there is a potential cost-avoidance savings as high as $84 million."

"Over the course of this process, AFCESA will also provide two RIVs to the Special Vehicle Maintenance School in Port Hueneme, Calif., so our Air Force vehicle maintainers can effectively learn how to sustain and maintain these vehicles at the base level," Mr. Podolske said. "We will also develop curriculum to show firefighters how to properly inspect, operate and maintain the vehicle. This is serious business. This vehicle will be in the Air Force inventory for a minimum of 12 years, allowing firefighters to save lives and protect vital Air Force assets."

Here are some pictures of the P-34 RIV training at Tyndall Air Force Base...

The Air Force Civil Engineer Support Agency, with headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., is a field operating agency that reports to the Office of The Civil Engineer, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.

The AFCESA Mission: Provide professional readiness, energy, and operations support, tools and practices to maximize Air Force engineering agile combat support worldwide

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; This is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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