The Marine Corps has made due with 30-year-old aircraft-rescue and firefighting vehicles that no longer meet current operational standards. The service plans to field a replacement in the coming years.
Oshkosh Defense — which manufactured the P-19 fleet currently used by the Marine Corps to conduct firefighting and rescue missions at its airfields — in May received an estimated $192 million contract to build a new model.
Legacy vehicles do not currently meet the National Fire Protection Association’s minimum standards, but the P-19 replacement (P-19R) will be compliant, said John Bryant, the company’s vice president and general manager.
The new standards require that vehicles have better acceleration and be able to handle severe slopes and rough terrain. “These vehicles may have to move in a convoy over difficult terrain in an expeditionary environment,” Bryant said.
To accommodate this need, the new vehicles will be built with a 600 horsepower engine instead of the P-19’s 400 horsepower engine.
The replacements will be equipped with a stronger suspension system, the TAK-4, which is used on mine resistant ambush protected vehicles. The P-19R will also have improved ergonomics in the cab for a more comfortable ride.
The P-19R design is based on the company’s logistics vehicle system replacement currently used by the Marine Corps and the Striker firefighting truck used at commercial airports.
Oshkosh has already built three P-19R prototypes, which will undergo internal testing before being delivered to the Marine Corps as early as November. The Marine Corps will then do its own testing of the vehicles to be concluded next summer.
The company will build 17 vehicles under low-rate initial production. It expects to produce 148 trucks in full-rate production, although the contract allows for up to 200, Bryant said. Work on the trucks is scheduled to be completed by May 2018.
Photo Credit: Oshkosh