Leonardo used our Aerial Firefighting Europe event in Nimes recently to launch their C-27J in firefighting configuration. The aircraft will features a roll-on/roll-off Fire Attack System (FAS) made by Simplex Aerospace to provide a flexible solution, in keeping with the “multi mission” approach taken in the design of the C-27J. This provides a financially advantageous solution with much lower acquisition and operating costs than a dedicated firefighting aircraft.
The Italian manufacturer claims just 60-90 minutes are needed to install or remove the Simplex Fire Attack System, thanks to the aircraft’s rear loading ramp. No major structural modifications are required to the airframe. The main tank has a maximum capacity of 10,600 litres (2,800 gal US). 568 litres (150 gal US) of foam retardant can also be added.
The firefighting system is one of the options that customers can add to the C-27J Spartan new baseline configuration, which also 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, and it is expected that a number will take the opportunity to upgrade their C-27J fleet.
Beyond this new offering, Leonardo is also working with the European SCODEV Consortium as they study and test a further aspect to enhance the C-27J’s firefighting potential. The SCODEV scooping device will provide increased operational flexibility by allowing the water tank to be filled from around 30m above the water surface.
Sales to date of the C-27J Spartan now total 85, which examples ordered by the Air Forces of Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, United States, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Kenya, Morocco, Chad and Zambia.