Many of you may have seen this beast before, but for those of you who haven’t, know that it uses its power for good and not evil. What you’re looking at is the world’s most badass fire extinguisher.
Developed by engineers in Hungary, we first laid eyes on this puppy while watching a documentary about the international effort to put out the nearly 600 oil-well fires set by retreating Iraqi troops set in the Kuwaiti oil fields. This sure beats the hell out of a bulldozer with a heat shield on it.
So what exactly is this fire-breathing mongrel? It took some legwork to get specifics, but here goes.
The base is an old Russian T-34 tank. The gun turret was removed and replaced with a pair of turbine engines from MiG 21 fighter jets.
The T-34 was a Russian tank and widely accepted as the best one available by the end of WWII (or as the Russians call it, “The Great Patriotic War”). It was powered by a 40L (that’s forty liter), 500hp, 12-cylinder diesel, was capable of speeds over 30 mph, and had enough firepower on board to take out just about anything that bothered it.
The top, and most absurdly awesome half of this machine is fighter-jet refuse. MiG 21s came with several different engines through their life span, but the most common ones were Tumansky R-25s rated at 13,500 pounds of thrust. One would be cool, two is insane. We’ve seen math to suggest this thing is moving 10,000 cfm per second when at full tilt.
The water pumping system is no joke either. It would be able to drain an average swimming pool in less than a minute.
It works just about the way you would expect it to. The vehicle is moved to within fairly close proximity to the fire (and there’s a guy actually driving this thing, he sits down in the normal tank driver position, which places him smack between, albeit below, the two turbines). Once in position, water lines are attached and the engines are lit. With water nozzles pumping water into the jet wash, the thrust is brought up and the fire is essentially blown and drowned out with the wind and the water. Once that is done crews can move in to put a new cap on the well. The heat inside of the tank must be incredible as the body would act like a Dutch oven. Yikes!
This is an awesome solution to a problem that has cost many brave men their lives over the years. It looks like the doomsday machine, that’s for sure. This is another of those projects that must have kept the engineers from sleeping for a while with sheer giddiness.
Here’s a video of the beast in action.