The Airport Fire and Rescue Service was formed in October 2015, and the Government and the MoD agreed at the time to co-finance the fire vehicle and equipment replacement project on a 50/50 basis.

In late 2017 the vehicle specifications were drawn up and an EU Tender issued. Rosenbauer UK were awarded a contract to supply four Airfield Rescue and Firefighting Vehicles (Panthers) and Angloco Ltd UK would supply one Light Rescue Pump. Separately, Rock Motors will supply two Volkswagen Amarok Command and Operational Support Vehicles. All these vehicles are fitted with the latest Euro 6 engines and will replace the present MoD fleet once they are commissioned and become fully operational.

The training on the Panthers is underway since they are very different vehicles to the existing fleet and will entail a radical change of tactical strategies when tackling an aircraft fire incident. This change will considerably enhance the firefighting capability and bring the AFRS into the 21st Century, providing commonality with the mainstream aviation firefighting industry and future proofing for the next 15 to 20 years.

The training is expected to be completed by the end of August.

'This is a concerted and very comprehensive programme, which needs to be fully undertaken by all operational firefighting staff before being able to put these vehicles into operational service and be able to meet our mandated aviation regulatory requirements.'