Airbus has carried out a flight test campaign in Spain to evaluate a new removable firefighting demonstrator kit on A400M aircraft.
The company developed and tested this kit in collaboration with Spanish Air Force’s 43rd Group, European authorities in firefighting operations and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO).
As part of this test, the aircraft flew at a minimum operating height of 150ft at a speed as low as 125k and conducted drops involving up to 20t of water from the current tank in less than ten seconds.
This test aimed to gauge the ability of A400M to carry out operations using this new kit. It also allowed the assessment of the kit’s drop water quantity and time.
Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn said: “The development of firefighting kit is an intrinsic part of our journey towards helping to create a more sustainable and safer world, not only by actions but also through our products.
“We strongly believe A400M can play a vital role in the fight against ever-increasing threat posed by wildfires and support restoration of environmental systems.”
The Spanish Air Force’s A400M transporter aircraft is used for different logistics missions. The Air Force is further working to expand the capabilities and mission diversity of its A400M fleet.
The new firefighting solution is a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) kit, which is interchangeable with any aircraft in the A400M fleet and requires no further modifications to the aircraft.
It provides rapid reaction capabilities to counter unforeseen fires and reconfiguration of the aircraft to other roles.
The latest test was conducted in daylight conditions while Airbus is planning to perform future tests at night to reinforce the efficiency of the mission.