The Airbus A400M soon to be used as a firefighting aircraft ?Romain Guillot
le 17/06/2021 , Maintenance aéronautique
AKKA Technologies has just developed a turnkey conversion solution to be able to add a new auxiliary capability to the Airbus A400M, the C295 and the CN-235 military transport aircraft, that of being able to embark and drop water to fight fires.
The first kits have been designed for A400M and CASA C235 & C295 aircraft, with similar systems able to be installed in any other aircraft with an Aft Cargo Door.
According to the aviation division of AKKA France, the implementation of this Plug & Play solution also takes less than an hour to be installed on board. It is therefore not an STC since it does not require any modification of the aircraft.
This kit is particularly simple, because it ultimately only relies of on one or two 10-ton water tanks to be fitted to the aircraft (depending of course on the maximum payload of each aircraft type). The A400M will be able to carry two tanks of the same type, becoming a water bomber capable of dropping 20 tons.
"We are very proud of the team for developing this simple, robust and cost-effective solution. The kit has been designed for A400M and CASA C235 & C295 aircrafts but is also compatible with many other aircraft such as the C-130 Hercules, the Embraer KC-390 or the C-27J Spartan. AKKA is bringing all its historical expertise in aeronautics to bear in the development of value-added innovations within the industry" said Pierre-Yves LAZIES, Vice President of Aviation at AKKA France.
AKKA specified that it is in discussions with various European operators to be able to add this new capability to some of their aircraft.
As an indication, the water capacities of specialized firefighting aircraft such as the Canadair CL-415 or the Dash 8 Q400 MR are of the order of 6 tons and 10 tons respectively. The C235 and C295 will then be able to have fairly similar water drops capabilities, with 5 and 6 tonnes respectively.
The installation of the kit is thus done is done with the help of winches via the aft cargo door. The tank is then filled up in just ten minutes for each mission.
As a reminder, Airbus DS had already conducted water drop tests on a modified C295 in 2013. A version with retardant dispensers was also imagined a few years later.
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