Airbus partners with B.C. aviation firm to develop water bomber

An Airbus C295 M

Aerospace company Airbus Defence and Space is working with a forestry and aviation firm based in Port Alberni, B.C. to convert a transport plane into a water bomber.

Under a memorandum of agreement signed by Airbus and the Coulson Group of Canada, the B.C. firm will configure its retardant-dropping system to work with Airbus’ C295W transport plane to turn the turboprop aircraft into a water bomber

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Under the agreement, Coulson will tailor its retardant-dropping system to the C295W, switching the turboprop from a transport plane to a water bomber.

Roll-on-roll-off tanks

The work will entail fitting two removable water tanks (each capable of holding 3,500 litres of water or fire retardant) to the C295W.

The “roll-on-roll-off” internal tanks can be easily removed after the fire season. This will allow the C295W to be available for its conventional role as a ramp-equipped, multi-role transport when not in use for firefighting tasks.

“The Coulson Next Gen Retardant Delivery System is thoroughly proven in service with our operations using the C-130 water bomber and will bring a powerful capability to the C295W which is already an outstanding transport class,” said Britton Coulson in a statement. “Using this modular roll-on-roll-off system combined with our Next Gen Smart Controller, the C295W is an extremely cost-effective firefighting aircraft which is available as an unrestricted multi-role transport outside the fire season.”

Coulson Group’s business consists of companies in the forestry, lumber, manufacturing, gaming and aviation industries. Its aviation arm specialises in aerial firefighting worldwide. It operates a commercial fleet of firefighting C-130H Hercules aircraft and Sikorsky S-61 helicopters in the United States, Canada and Australia.

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