A T-34 tank and jet engines of MiG-21 aircraft can only mean a reign of destruction. But a Hungarian trio has ensured that the recipient of this wrath is not human but mean raging fires and has engineered perhaps the biggest fire truck the world has seen so far.
For all its Russian parts, it would only be unusual if the concept was not Russian as well. As Car and Driver reports, Soviets mounted engines of MiG-15s on trucks to blow out oil-well fires and even clear snow from airfields. While this might not be the most resourceful use of the mighty engines, a Hungarian company saw its utility to put out fires in Kuwait and provided a reliable chassis of a T-34 tank before flying it out on a C-130 cargo aircraft. The rest as they say is history.
The jet engines on the tank appear like guns ready to fire jet blasts and they actually do. Except that the engineers at the Hungarian company used pipes to drop water above the jet exhausts. The result is water rushing towards a fire at the speed of 770 miles an hour (1.239 km/h).
The principle used to put out the fire is simple. The jet sprays cut off the flame from the blaze. The reason why oil well fires look like a torch is that it is only at this height that the oil finds enough oxygen to support its burning and as it burns streaming oil takes its place. Jet sprays can stop this seemingly unending cycle instantly and then use the stream to cool the area, preventing reignition.
The fire fighting team consists of three crew members, a driver, an operator for the jet engines, and a fire chief who instructs from the outside, where the effort needs to be put in. One can only imagine how tough it might have been to find so much water to put out fires in the Kuwaiti desert. And it was. The team relied on others to dig bore wells and find the water it needed.
For all the might of the jet engines, this fire truck though moves almost at a snail's pace of three mph (4.8 km/h) and has only one gear, forward. Guess that's the attitude you need when you are fighting fires of that scale.