Magirus Superdragon X8, the giant truck of the Fire Brigade in airports

Magirus Superdragon X8, the giant truck of the Fire Brigade in airports
Magirus Superdragon X8, the giant truck of the Fire Brigade in airports

Excellence in fire-fighting technology in the field of mobile systems, the Superdragon X8 is Magirus’ spearhead when it comes to airport security. His numbers? Exaggerated: It weighs like a tank and has a load capacity three times greater than a Canadair

Manuele Cecconi

October 9
– Milano

Guaranteeing fire safety in airports is an extremely delicate task, made even more difficult by air traffic that has become increasingly intense in recent decades and with a consequent increase in the number of passengers to be protected, net of the decline imposed by Covid. In the aeronautical field, even a small fire can easily turn into a disaster, and not only because of the intrinsic vulnerability of the aircraft when it is in flight: just think of the enormous quantities of fuel that circulate in the largest airports to power monsters of the air like modern turbofans. In this sense the so-called Arffv (Aircrash Rescue and Fire Fighting Veichle, airport fire rescue vehicles) are only one of the many assets necessary to safeguard the safety of an aerodrome, undoubtedly one of the most important. Among the leaders in the construction of this type of vehicle is Magirus, a German brand that gravitates together with Iveco in the orbit of CNH Industrial.


First, some history. The origins of the brand go back to 1866, when Conrad Dietrich Magirus, former commander of the Ulm fire brigade, founded the Feuerwehr-Requisiten-Fabrik CD Magirus, a manufacturer of fire-fighting equipment that immediately stood out for its great attention to the mobility of devices. It is precisely to Magirus that we owe, for example, the very first ladder trucks and the first hydrants mounted on vehicles, developed by the German company between the end of the nineties of the nineteenth century and the first years of the new century. In the following decades various vicissitudes lead Magirus to merge with the Humboldt-Deutz Motorenfabrik, a marriage renewed also with the post-war restart of the newborn Magirus-Deutz (1949). In 1975 the three-pointed M brand – captivating stylization of the cathedral of Ulm – was acquired by Iveco, from which it separated in 2013 after numerous changes of name and company form. Since then Magirus GmbH has been an independent brand in the orbit of Cnh Industrial, an industrial group to which Iveco also belongs: the links with the Italian company are therefore far from severed.


The range of fire-fighting vehicles produced by Magirus is very complete, but the Superdragon X8 undoubtedly deserves a special place. We can talk about a real flagship in the field of airport security vehicles: also available in the short wheelbase variant (Swb), this gentle giant has a length of almost 13 meters in its long wheelbase (Lwb) version and a mass total that can exceed 50 tons fully loaded. A little less, just to have a term of comparison, of an M1 Abrams tank. To push it not one but two Iveco Cursor 13 six-cylinder in-line diesel engines, units that with a displacement of almost 13 liters can deliver 540 or 560 Hp each depending on whether it is the Euro 3 version or the more modern Euro 5 engine. . The total? Twelve cylinders, just under 26,000 cc and 1,120 hp of total maximum power, enough to allow the very heavy Superdragon to accelerate from 0 to 80 km / h in less than 25 seconds and reach a self-limited speed of 135 km / h. Because in an emergency, every second can make a difference.


The maximum torque of each of the two engines is approximately 2,400 Nm, for a total of 4,800 Nm transmitted to the four axles by two Allison 4700 automatic transmissions with converter. The wheels are therefore eight, burdened by the thankless task of carrying a similar weight in complete safety. Yes, because the most important thing on the Superdragon is the load: the fiberglass water tank can hold up to 17,000 liters, about three times the capacity of a Canadair, to which more than 2,000 liters of foam and about 500 must be added. kg of extinguishing powder. His tools? The powerful swinging hydrants, authentic water cannons that can fire up to a maximum of 10,000 liters / minute at low pressure (10 bar) and 250 liters / minute at high pressure (40 bar).


Like any self-respecting flagship, there is no shortage of accessories in this case too. Of course, the Superdragon X8 is equipped with air conditioning and heating, but the options we refer to are other, decidedly less conventional: the list is long, but it is worth mentioning, for example, a 230 V generator, pneumatic doors, fourth steering axle, a CO2 storage system instead of dust and a Flir infrared camera. Highly customizable, the Magirus bison can adopt not only different types of extinguishing agent, but can also be configured for every need inside the cabin: the seats, for example, can vary from 3 to 6, and the position of the driver can be placed on the left, right or center.


Now in its second generation, the Superdragon is at the top of an entire line-up of trucks See (Crash-Laugh Rescue) called Dragon, a project that makes modularity one of its main strengths from a production-industrial point of view. The smaller brothers of the X8 are the three-axis Dragon II X6 and the two-axis entry level Dragon II X4, more compact vehicles but sharing the same technologies and the same basic structure, a cell that Magirus makes in aluminum and Prfv ( glass fiber reinforced plastic).


The dimensions vary, to adapt to different scenarios and operational needs, but there are many standardized parts that unite them and therefore allow costs to be drastically lowered. And, collaterally, also to guarantee maximum efficiency and speed in the supply of spare parts, many of which are also shared with widely used Iveco heavy vehicles. Finally, in the range that Magirus dedicates to the protection of airports, there is no shortage of trucks such as Impact X4, Impact X6 and Superimpact X6, perhaps less spectacular and powerful than the Dragons but just as essential to allow fire safety professionals to adequately defend aircraft and passengers. Allowing all of us to travel peacefully, protected by these towering guardian angels.

October 9, 2021 (change October 9, 2021 | 10:59 am)


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