What happens when you pair two MiG fighters with one of the most remarkable tanks of World War Two? Well, instead of utter chaos, you land with one of the world’s most powerful fire fighting machines. When you see this epic machine in action, you can quickly see why it was called the “Big Wind”. Read on to learn about the rich history and inner workings of this incredible machine.
Big Wind – Early History
So how did this piece of big machinery come about? What inspired the creation of this mammoth fire truck? Historically, it looks as though the concept for the Big Wind came about during the Cold War. This was because nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) weapons were considered a major threat. If war took hold of Europe, there was a serious risk that NBC weapons would be deployed. The fighting vehicles of this time were fitted with filters and seals to protect the crews inside from contamination.
However, this still meant the vehicles themselves required some assistance. If they were exposed to contaminants, they could become a serious hazard. This problem sparked the idea for a new, tank sized machine, complete with a pressure washer that could hose off armoured units and get them back into action.
Developing The Big Wind
By the time the late 1980s came around, the Russians had developed a simplified form of this super pressure washer. They strapped an engine from a MiG-15 fighter onto the bed of a truck to create a powerful vehicle that could efficiently blast forceful jets of air and water. It was used to fight large fires and also clear snow off runways.
But, it was famously the Russians’ Hungarian allies who cleverly transformed this concept into the Big Wind.
How Was The Big Wind Made?
The Big Wind was built with parts taken from three vehicles. It uses the chassis of a T-34 tank and the jets of two MiG-21 fighter planes. This fire fighting machine is heavy-duty, to say the least.
What Type Of Fires Does The Big Wind Put Out?
The Big Wind machine is incredibly powerful – for a good reason. It is not designed to put out everyday fires. In fact, it may even cause further damage to a regular fire. The Big Wind specialises in putting out oil well fires that historically would have been impossible to fight off without this machine. Before the Big Wind, they would have simply had to ‘burn out’.
How Efficient Is The Big Wind?
When the Big Wind jets are turned on, the results are incredible. This machine uses a total of 6 nozzles and moves 220 gallons of water per second. This water is projected at a rapid 770 miles per hour – roughly the speed of sound. Equipped with the durable body of a now obsolete tank and civilian guns derived from military jet engines, the Big Wind is an absolute monster of the fire fighting world.
Three crew members; a driver, fire chief and controller of the jets, are required to control the Big Wind. These teams of people have battled some of the toughest fires in the world.
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