David Oliver – Leonardo has added firefighting to the roles of its C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft. The C-27J firefighter equipped with a roll-on/roll-off Fire Attack System (FAS) made by Simplex Aerospace, represents an effective solution in airborne firefighting technology and capability.
Leonardo told Armada International that this enhanced firefighter configuration is a flexible solution for enhancing the capabilities of the C-27J multi-mission aircraft with significantly lower acquisition and operating costs than a dedicated firefighting platform.
The Simplex roll-on/roll-off Fire Attack System can be easily installed or removed by a small team in approximately 60-90 minutes via the aircraft’s rear loading ramp as no major structural modifications have been made to the airframe. The main tank has a maximum capacity of 10,600 litres (2,800 US gallons) and an additional 568 litres (150 US gallons) of foam retardant can added. Retardant exit is via “S” ducts installed in paratrooper ‘stub’ doors). Flow can be controlled to contour the drop pattern via variable butterfly valves, controlled by rotary actuators, in the “S” ducts. Fill time is between 60 and 90 seconds while dispersal from the tank takes less than seven seconds. The system also has an emergency dump control.
The firefighting system is one of the options that C-27J customers can add to the Spartan’s new baseline configuration which incorporates a brand new avionics system designed to comply with Next Generation Air Traffic Control requirements, new cockpit control panels and LED aircraft lights. The firefighting capability and the new baseline configuration are also being offered as a retrofit to current operators.
While offering the C-27J Firefighter with the Simplex Fire Attack System, Leonardo, in collaboration with the European SCODEV Consortium, is also studying and testing the SCODEV scooping device that will provide increased operational flexibility by allowing the water tank to be filled from a stretch of water without the need for the aircraft to return to base.