AFER A year of rigorous testing, the Aeronautica Militare Italiana (AMI – Italian Air Force) has certified Caylym Technologies International’s Guardian aerial firefighting system for use on its C-130J Super Hercules. The achievement was announced by the Hanford, California-based company on August 6.
Previously, the system had primarily been used on the C-27J Spartan, with which it has been in use for the last three years. Rick Goddard, Managing Director of Caylym, said: “To see the Guardian being tested and dropped out of the C-130J is a tremendous leap forward for us and the firefighting community. There are over a thousand of these cargo aircraft in service in over 70 countries. This development now makes aerial firefighting a reality for many countries who could not support or maintain a separate fleet of tankers.”
He continued: “The Guardian is now being deployed in two state-of-the-art aircraft, the C-27J which can carry six units, or 6,000 litres and the C-130J which can carry 20 units or 20,000 litres of water or retardant. Both of these aircraft will play vital roles in aerial firefighting in Europe and the Mediterranean region. Now, any country flying these popular aircraft can engage wildfires safely from the air, around the clock, using these readily available resources without airframe modification.”
The Guardian achieved a second important certification at the US Army Testing Center in Natick, Massachusetts, where it passed some of the most difficult G-force trials in the world.
Guardian is a crate sized water container that deploys from a common cargo aircraft. Using a military designed logic system and GPS, the low velocity, air delivered (LVAD) Guardian lands within feet of its target. The release of the 1,000 litre (264 gallon) bladder a short distance above the ground delivers a highly concentrated cloud of retardant into the heart of the fire. The paper based packaging drifts down to be collected or allowed to breakdown and aid the soil in recovering after the blaze. The delayed deployment allows for aircraft and crew to fly significantly higher than previous systems (up to 1,500ft/455m AGL) helping keep people and equipment safely above the trees and flames. The unique crate shaped container is built to fit onto a common cargo aircraft (such as a C-130) without any special equipment or outfitting. The company notes that this allows for a dramatic increase in the number of aircraft that can aid in the battle against wildfires. Alan Warnes