The Evolution of the Striker® ARFF: Oshkosh’s Journey to Excellence in Airport Fire Rescue

When the Oshkosh® MB-5 was produced in the late 1960s for the U.S. Navy, Oshkosh began on its path to becoming a global leader in the aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) industry. Ever since, Oshkosh Airport Products has consistently produced vehicles with unmatched quality.

4 yellow oshkosh trucks parked side to side
The evolution of the Striker® ARFF

As years passed, Oshkosh Airport Products started to make major improvements to the already technologically advanced line of Oshkosh ARFF vehicles, eventually leading to the evolution of the Striker® ARFF vehicle.

Below, we’ll walk you through the three generations of the Striker ARFF, highlighting how Oshkosh combines customer input and cutting-edge technology to deliver the most innovative airport fire rescue products.

First Generation: Pioneering the Striker ARFF Series

The Striker ARFF series was launched in 2001, offering water capacities of 1,500 gallons, 3,000 gallons or 4,500 gallons. This series initiated a groundbreaking evolution in ARFF vehicles, steadily enhancing features while maintaining a reliable design.

The first generation Striker ARFF prioritized firefighter comfort, featuring an interior cab designed to accommodate five individuals. This design emphasized exceptional visibility, boasting 80 square feet of glass for optimal viewing angles. This also coincided with the introduction of center steer and chamfered front windows, both of which would become iconic style features of the Striker ARFF.

A pale yellow, first generation, Striker ARFF vehicle
First generation Striker ARFF

This Striker vehicle was also the first Oshkosh ARFF truck to abide by the NFPA 414 30-degree static tilt requirement, which was updated from 28 degrees in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Before this change, the ARFF firefighting industry experienced a high number of rollover accidents. The adherence to the NFPA 414 30-degree static tilt requirement was a key driver in the first generation design and helped us develop a truck that enhanced operator safety and prevented future rollovers.

In addition to these innovations, the original Striker model incorporated TAK-4® Independent Suspension as a standard feature to improve maneuverability, a feature which remains standard on all new Striker vehicles today. This suspension system not only enhances handling and cornering, but also reduces stopping distance.

Learn more about the Striker ARFF series.

Second Generation: Advancements in Power and Versatility

The next iteration of the Striker ARFF debuted in 2011. This vehicle was a true powerhouse with a modernized body upgrade and enhancements to the functionality and features of the first generation.

A red, second generation, Striker ARFF vehicle
Second generation Striker ARFF

The second generation Striker ARFF vehicle incorporated greater fire suppression, control, safety and versatility. This vehicle allowed for increased pump capacity and optional crosslays to access handlines from either side of the truck. At 2,000 lbs. lighter than the first generation, the second model guaranteed an acceleration of 0-50 mph in under 25 seconds for the Striker 4×4, and under 35 seconds for the 6×6 model.

This Striker ARFF model introduced significant improvements in maneuverability, featuring an 11% increase in braking power compared to the first generation, along with enhanced visibility through 84 square feet of glass. The second generation Striker ARFF vehicle brought a substantial increase of 29% in fuel capacity, further enhancing its capabilities and range of operation.

Additionally, this vehicle offered varying roof turret configurations, including non-aspirating and aspirating options with an electric joystick control, allowing for discharge rates ranging from 375 gpm to a maximum of 1,585 gpm.

The Latest, Most Innovative Generation

The latest generation of the Oshkosh Striker ARFF was thoughtfully designed to prioritize firefighter safety and to enhance performance. This third generation vehicle excels in mobility and safety, boasts an exceptional firefighting system and features a redesigned body with sleek contours. It also incorporates state-of-the-art technology and fire suppression systems, an operator-friendly cab layout and industry-leading visibility, all complemented by convenient walk-in rear service compartments for hassle-free maintenance.

A yellow and black, third generation, Striker ARFF vehicle
Third generation Striker ARFF

The redesigned cab enhances visibility and convenience with bus-style doors and a modular cab design while providing improved safety through features such as Electronic Stability Control, a 360-degree camera and side curtain airbags.

Building upon the foundation of previous Striker ARFF vehicles, this model integrates advanced ClearSky™ Telematics and Oshkosh CARE clean options, providing storage for self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs), various exhaust extraction choices and customizable enhancements like spray nozzles and decontamination shower heads.

Electrification and the Future of ARFF

Part of the third generation of Oshkosh Striker vehicles is the Striker Volterra™ electric ARFF truck. This revolutionary unit contains all of the design and engineering advancements of the standard Striker vehicle and can operate on fully electric power.

Much of an ARFF vehicle’s life is spent doing non-emergency driving or idling. The Striker Volterra ARFF runs on all-electric power during these normal day-to-day operations which not only reduces carbon emissions, but it also results in less noise pollution, up to a 75% reduction in fuel consumption and less overall engine maintenance. When the emergency response mode is activated, the Striker Volterra ARFF’s onboard diesel engine will kick in to ensure that no emergency is compromised. The engine will also turn on automatically to power the truck’s water pump.

The Striker Volterra ARFF has the best acceleration performance of any Striker model by reaching speeds of 50 mph in under 25 seconds, which is a 28% improvement in response time compared to a conventional Striker 6×6 truck.

In 2023, Oshkosh Airport Products secured the first purchase order for a Striker Volterra ARFF, marking a significant milestone in the ARFF industry.

Learn more about this groundbreaking vehicle and its unprecedented performance.

A Legacy of Unmatched Excellence and Continuous Advancement

The original Striker ARFF set the bar for performance, durability and innovation in the ARFF industry. Each generation of the Striker ARFF vehicle continues to exceed NFPA 1900 and ICAO expectations and performance initiatives.

The newest generation of the Striker ARFF vehicle has taken a refined apparatus and included even more technological features and advancements, first and foremost being the comfort and safety of firefighters.

This article was originally published by Oshkosh.


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