The Thermite RS3 is capable of spraying 2,500 gallons per minute

 A firefighting robot got its first major test Tuesday in Los Angeles when it was put to use for the first time in the United States to battle a major blaze.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the Thermite RS3 robot was supposed to have its official public introduction in the afternoon but got called into duty a few hours early due to a blaze downtown.

“It had already gotten dirty at an early morning major emergency commercial structure fire that morning – proving its value from the start,” the department said.

The Thermite RS3, manufactured by Textron: Howe & Howe Technologies, is a compact robotic firefighting vehicle that features a low center of gravity and wide chassis.


The Los Angeles Fire Department debuted the first robotic firefighting vehicle in the United States, putting it to use on its first day in service Tuesday.

Fire officials said the 3,500-pound robot that resembles a small tank is capable of spraying 2,500 gallons per minute, with a stream that can reach high as 150 feet high or 300 feet across.


The RS3 is remotely operated with a controller that provides high-definition video feedback for “ultimate maneuverability in difficult conditions,” according to the LAFD.


LAFD Chief Ralph Terrazas said at a news conference the department first became aware of the technology when watching the Notre Dame cathedral blaze in Paris last year.

“I have no doubt that our resourceful firefighters will find many more uses that I have not even thought about,” Terrazas said.


“This equipment will help us fight fires, and keep Angelenos and our firefighters safe,” Garcetti said.

The RS3 cost $278,000 and was purchased and donated to the department by the LAFD Foundation, FOX11 reported.

The RS3 will be housed at Fire Station 3 in Downtown Los Angeles and will be deployed to incidents on a dedicated trailer towed by a pickup truck.


The robot is able to run for 20 hours without refueling and features a front plow blade to push debris, including vehicles.