U.S. Army in Germany receives more fire trucks equipped with Allison transmissions
2nd July 2020
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Eight new Rosenbauer-body Scania fire trucks with Allison fully automatic transmissions are in operation at U.S. Army in Germany fire departments.

The U.S. Army in Germany recently added eight Scania structural pumper P410 B4x4HZ trucks with Rosenbauer-body and Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmissions to its fire fleet. The vehicles, featuring the new CP 31 Crew Cab, are powered by a 302 kW (410 hp) diesel engine combined with an Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmission. They will be stationed at different locations across Germany.

The U.S. Army has procured this vehicle configuration for the last 10 years, partly because of the advantages of a standardised fleet for staff training and vehicle maintenance, but also due to its positive experience with Allison transmissions over the past three decades.

“So far, the transmissions have fulfilled all requirements of the U.S. Army with regards to performance, operation and maintenance,” said Sigurd Mack, Fire Protection Specialist at the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s European Headquarters in Sembach near Kaiserslautern. “This also applies to the integrated hydraulic retarder and the Power Take-Off with the pump and roll function. It enables us to manoeuvre the vehicle safely and, at the same time, operate the water pump via the Power Take-Off – which is indispensable for efficient firefighting. For our operations and emergency responses good acceleration, easy handling and robustness are essential.”

According to the American NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 1901 (Standard for Fire Apparatus) directive for firefighting vehicles, fully automatic transmissions are mandatory for heavy firefighting vehicles. In its solicitation, the U.S. Army does not only specify fully automatic transmissions, it also identifies bespoke emergency vehicle transmission software. “A fully automatic transmission will only properly benefit the driver during operation if the shift pattern is tuned to the vehicle and the transmission works together effectively with the driver. It has to meet the specific mission for emergency response,” said Mack.

Allison fully automatic transmissions differ from other technologies. Among other factors, they have specially developed shift calibration programmes for the fire and rescue application. When combined with continuous powershifting, this results in improved acceleration, higher average speed and faster response times.

The fully automatic Allison transmission with its patented torque converter and Continuous Power Technology™ multiplies engine torque during vehicle start-up and acceleration. Gear changes are made without interruption, resulting in the smooth transfer of power to the drive wheels and maximum efficiency between engine and transmission.

“The transmissions shift smoothly at precisely the right moment, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on the road, which contributes significantly to accident prevention,” said Mack.

“In addition, to have competent and highly skilled service technicians, as well as spare parts service locally available greatly limits down time and contributes to our readiness,” said Mack. “The transmission manufacturer infrastructure has also supported our goals so far in this regard.”

Allison fully automatic transmissions have demonstrated their outstanding reliability and durability under extremely difficult conditions and are consequently used by numerous fire brigade fleets worldwide. There are currently about 70 Allison fully automated vehicles in the fire truck fleet of the U.S. Army in Germany.

The oldest Allison transmissions in the fire brigade of the U.S. Army in Germany have clocked up over 30 years of service. In 2007, the drivetrain components from 12 older Amertek 2500L trucks were removed and installed into 12 overhauled firefighting trucks, so called “glider kits.” The Detroit diesel engines and Allison HT 750 DRD transmissions of the Amertek 2500L trucks, which at that time were already around 25 years old, were fitted to a new HME 1871 SFO chassis with a body made by Hensel.

“In the USA, general vehicle overhaul is a recognised procedure for vehicle maintenance and service life extension. The engines and transmissions, especially in fire trucks, are still in relatively good working condition and have proven to be very reliable, even after a long period of time. This contributed to the decision for a service life extension,” said Mack.

Compared to a new purchase, the “glider kits” helped to save approx. 80,000 – 100,000 USD per vehicle without compromising the functionality. The “glider kits” are used as multi-purpose vehicles for firefighting and for providing technical assistance.

Image / Image – © U.S. Army Public Affairs. The U.S. Army in Germany recently added eight Scania structural pumper P410 B4x4HZ trucks with Rosenbauer-body and Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmissions to its fire fleet.

Image – © U.S. Army Public Affairs. The U.S. Army has opted for this vehicle configuration for the last 10 years.

Image – © Allison Transmission. The Allison 4000 Series™ fully automatic transmission with patented torque converter offers fire departments specially designed software for emergency vehicles.

Image – © U.S. Army Public Affairs. HME “Glider kits” are reconditioned fire trucks which consist of components from older vehicles and new vehicle parts.

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and medium- and heavy-tactical U.S. defense vehicles, as well as a supplier of commercial vehicle propulsion solutions, including electric hybrid and fully electric propulsion systems. Allison products are used in a wide variety of applications, including on-highway trucks (distribution, refuse, construction, fire and emergency), buses (school, transit and coach), motorhomes, off-highway vehicles and equipment (energy, mining and construction applications) and defense vehicles (wheeled and tracked). Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,500 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.

About U.S. Army fire brigades in Germany

The U.S. Army independently provides preventive fire protection for their sites. Presently, the U.S. Army operates fire brigades at seven garrisons, some of which have several fire stations. Protective objectives are defined in the NFPA and the corresponding implementation regulations of the U.S. Department of Defense. Although the standards of the American and German fire brigades differ, they work together closely supporting each other well. On the one hand the equipment is specially designed for this cooperation, on the other hand all firefighters of the U.S. Army are German employees and have already completed a basic German firefighter training prior to their training according to U.S. standards. There is a specific U.S. Army Firefighting Training Centre in Ansbach, Bavaria, for training and certification according to U.S. standards. Further information about the U.S. Army in Europe is available at: http://www.eur.army.mil/