Leonardo has announced that it is working on the development of a solution to enhance the firefighting potential of its C-27J aircraft.
The enhanced firefighting configuration is aimed at expanding the aircraft’s multirole capabilities.
Leonardo demonstrated the C-27J with firefighting configuration at the 16th Aerial Firefighting Europe event in Nimes, France.
The C-27J firefighter is equipped with Simplex Aerospace’s roll-on / roll-off Fire Attack System (FAS).
According to the company, the firefighter provides an effective solution in airborne firefighting technology and capability.
The firefighter configuration can increase the capabilities of the C-27J multi-mission aircraft with lower acquisition and operating costs when compared to a dedicated firefighting platform.
Leonardo claimed that the Simplex Fire Attack System can be installed or removed quickly by a small team via the aircraft’s rear loading ramp.
In addition, the solution does not require any major structural modifications to be made to the airframe.
The main tank comes with a maximum capacity of 10,600l. The configuration also supports the addition of a 568l foam retardant.
In a statement, Leonardo said: “The firefighting system is one of the options that C-27J customers can add to the C-27J Spartan 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.
“Operators will enjoy improved operational cost and performance within the aircraft flyaway price.”
Leonardo is offering the firefighting capability and new baseline configuration as a retrofit to existing operators to enable them to modernise their C-27J fleet.
The company is working in partnership with the European SCODEV Consortium to study and test a solution to improve the C-27J’s firefighting potential.
Scooping device, SCODEV, will allow the aircraft to fill the tank from a stretch of water without the need to return to base.
This will enable the safe loading of water from around 30m above the surface with a roll-on / roll-off approach.
The company stated that the solution will allow the aircraft to perform different roles, including firefighting, emergency support and transport.
Leonardo has so far received 85 orders for C-27J Spartans from the airforces of 14 countries, including Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Australia, Peru, Kenya, Morocco, and Zambia.