High tech fire engines made in Huddersfield have been flown out to war-torn Afghanistan for use by NATO forces.
Meltham-based fire fighting vehicle manufacturer Rosenbauer UK has supplied the military alliance with two fire appliances for use at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport.
The two Panther fire trucks – resplendent in yellow livery for desert deployment – were transported to the airport at Kabul by Antonov Airlines’ AN-225 – the world’s largest operational cargo jet. They touched down earlier this month – just two months after the £1.1m contract was agreed.
The contract was secured by Rosenbauer UK managing director Oliver North, who started his career in the military at the age of 17.
He said: “In 2017, many airports across the UK entrusted us to provide Panthers to meet their demanding requirements, but it’s fantastic to have delivered these state-of-the-art appliances to NATO.
“Supplying this military alliance with the best airport trucks available on the market is a particular source of fulfilment for me. I served in the Royal Engineers for just over seven years, so it’s personally a really proud moment to provide NATO with what is the best product in our line up — the Rosenbauer Panther — which will serve its time watching over Kabul’s airport.”
A service team from one of Rosenbaeur’s agents have accompanied the appliances, which NATO ordered to replace existing machines.
The £550,000 6x6 Panthers are billed as the most innovative airport fire trucks available in the industry. The 39-tonne trucks are capable of hitting 80kph within 29 seconds — a speed unheard of with similar sized machines. They are each able to carry 11,000 litres of water and can deliver 9,000 litres of water and or foam per minute.
The deal was one of 11 contracts secured in the airport industry for Rosenbauer UK in 2017. The company landed all the contacts it bid for in the sector in 2017. They included supplying high-tech appliances to Belfast International Airport, Shannon Airport in the Republic of Ireland, airports at Belfast and Gibraltar Airport.
The firm, part of Austrian fire vehicle and equipment manufacturer Rosenbauer International, also supplies Heathrow, Gatwick and Leeds-Bradford Airport as well as several UK municipal fire services, including ones in Scotland, Lancashire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey.
Oliver said contracts confirmed for machines to be delivered in 2018 showed Rosenbauer UK was heading for a minimum 120% increase in turnover this year compared with 2017 – representing a £20m increas in sales.
Oliver, a former army PT instructor who was named Young Business Person of the Year in the 2013 Examiner Business Awards. He set up North Fire – later to become Rosenbauer Uk – in 2008 after a stint serving as a firefighter himself in 2002.