Episode 4

State of the art – for more than 20 years …

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Episode 4

State of the art – for more than 20 years …

From 0 to 80 km/h with Formula One performance. Maximum mobility on the airfield. Optimum extinguishing performance. The highest degree of safety for emergency crews and vehicle. The new fourth generation of the PANTHER combines all the benefits of its predecessors with innovative features of the latest high-tech standard.

And for good reason. Since the first PANTHER in 1991, the legendary airport fire fighter from Rosenbauer has continued to evolve and has always been the state of the art for fire and disaster protection at airports.

Success as the driving force for continuous improvement

There is nothing that is too good to be improved. This best describes Rosenbauer’s philosophy. For nearly 150 years, the name has been synonymous with significant innovations and ground-breaking technology in the manufacture of all types of fire fighting vehicles and extinguishing systems.

With the PANTHER too, success is only the impetus to be even better and get the most out of technology and the art of engineering. It all started in 1991 with the “Design PANTHER,” which revolutionized firefighting operations at airports. In 1999, the “Aluminum PANTHER” followed, marking the start of the lightweight design for the series.

As is so often the case in the history of revolutionary discoveries, chance played a large role in the change of the PANTHER to aluminum lightweight construction. Actually, the “Design PANTHER” was to be developed and built in America. However, the search for a suitable American supplier for glass fiber reinforced plastic, the material of which the body of the Design PANTHER is made, turned out to be difficult. So aluminum technology was used instead, making the new Rosenbauer PANTHER faster, more dynamic, more maneuverable, and easier to produce. The chassis was also changed. Now a Freightliner chassis was used with Daimler axles and a Detroit diesel engine for the newly developed PANTHER FL 6×6 and 4×4. The MAN X31 chassis continued to be used for the PANTHER AT 8×8.

What was originally conceived as a specific design for the American market soon emerged as the successor to the first PANTHER worldwide, ushering in the era of the second generation.

Only a PANTHER can be even better than a PANTHER

In the next six years, the PANTHER continued to build on its success. But for Rosenbauer, this was no reason to rest on its laurels. The engineers of the technology and innovation leader from Austria carried on researching and experimenting in order to develop the PANTHER even further. It was to be even better, more innovative, and even more modern.

Together with MAN, a new 8×8 chassis was developed with a 1,000 hp engine that met the Euro 3 exhaust standard and was installed in the rear for the first time. Later, Rosenbauer decided to make the PANTHER even larger, extending it to 52 tons with its own chassis and two-engine concept, giving it even more power. The third generation was born.

Alongside functionality, looks were also key. For the first time, a visual product language was developed for a fire fighting vehicle — an unmistakable appearance that also visually conveyed the values for which Rosenbauer and the PANTHER stand. The design was to convey innovation, safety, and dynamism. An industrial design specialist was commissioned with the new design of the PANTHER. He drew up a spectacular design, the futuristic look of which created a stir at the premiere at Interschutz 2005.

The third generation of the PANTHER is celebrated as a milestone in developing fire fighting vehicles. Even competitors tipped their hats and congratulated Rosenbauer on this coup. The unique design won numerous prizes, including an iF design award, the red dot design award:product design, and the design prize of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Everything happened very quickly in the following years. Orders continued to increase, causing the PANTHER 8×8 2006 to go into series production. And Rosenbauer received a large order for the PANTHER 6×6 from India. By May 2012, more than 1,000 PANTHER vehicles had been built and delivered to over 80 countries around the world. To date, the PANTHER is the most successful aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle (ARFF) of all time.