The Civilian Protection Authority in Luxembourg has started using a Unimog U20 to support the firefighting operations of the Unimog U5000 which went into service in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2010.

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The new Unimog U20 is a firefighting tank vehicle fitted with a body from Gimaex-Schmitz Fire and Rescue GmbH in Wilnsdorf.

The Unimog U 20 is especially suitable for fire protection due to its compact dimensions (wheelbase 2.7 m, vehicle width 2.15 m and – in this case – a vehicle length of 5.50 m and height of 2.90 m) as well as a turning circle of 12.6 m which is similar to that of a car.

This is extremely positive when driving along narrow forest trails or turning and manoeuvring at very close quarters.

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In any case, the Unimog also has outstanding off-road mobility: permanent four-wheel drive, portal axles securing high ground clearance, differential locks on both axles as well as a lockable longitudinal differential.

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Great angles of approach and departure with 30 degrees at the rear and 27 degrees at the front allow the Unimog to get quickly to where it is needed even over very difficult off-road conditions.

In addition, the modules forming the body are so placed that the weight is ideally distributed on the vehicle which has a maximum weight of 9.3 t.

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The water tank with enough capacity for 2000 litres of water is positioned directly behind the cab, and the technical firefighting equipment is fitted behind it. It has been equipped with special tyres suitable for both on-road and off-road conditions.

The four cylinder in-line engine of the Unimog U 20 gives a perfomance of 110 kW (150 hp) . The transmission with its eight forward and six reverse gears is especially suitable for crawling at low speeds off-road as well as for “pump and roll” operations, i.e. extinguishing fires while driving.

As an option, the Unimog U20 is also available with a powerful 130 kW (177 hp) engine. Its modern cab makes the fire crew’s (1/2) work easier with its comfortable fitttings and cleverly-devised ergonomic design.

The body manufacturer Gimaex-Schmitz has equipped the firefighting tank vehicle 10/20-1 with its renowned One Seven ®compressed air foam system.

It is capable of turning the 2000 litres of water carried into a total of 14,000 litres of extinguishing agent, one very important aspect when considering the problematic water supply available for forest fires.

The system uses compressed air to add a foaming agent to the water to create seven bubbles of foam from one drop of water.

One great advantage of this system is that large quantities of extinguishing agent can be transported by a compact and light vehicle. The burning objects are deeply penetrated by the extinguishing agent so that they are well-soaked. During forest fires, firefighting crews are often confronted with fires smouldering under the surface.

The pump driven by the vehicle’s engine has a rated output of 1000 l/min at 10 bar. The extinguishing agent is sprayed through two rapid intervention reels with a maximum range of 40 m. A front winch with a maximum traction of 5400 kg rounds off the equipment.