Firefighting kit tested on A-400M aircraft
During a flight campaign in Spain
Airbus has successfully tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A-400M new generation airlifter plane during a flight test campaign in Spain.
The test campaign took place in daylight conditions with a minimum operating height of 150ft, flight speeds as low as 125 knots and drops involving up to 20 tonnes of water from the current tank in less than 10 seconds. The main objective of the campaign is to validate the drop water quantity and time as well as the ability of the A-400M to carry out this new role with the kit.
The development of this prototype and the tests have been carried out in close collaboration with the 43rd Group of the Spanish Air Force, as well as European authorities in Firefighting operations and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge (MITECO).
The firefighting solution created for the model is a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) kit that requires no modification to the aircraft and therefore is interchangeable to any aircraft in the A-400M fleet. The water is stored in a fixed tank in the cargo hold, and retained by two independent doors. These doors are connected to two flood pipes, so when the discharge is triggered, the water is expelled through two sections at the end of the ramp. The introduction of this RORO solution allows a rapid reaction to unforeseen fires and reconfiguration of the aircraft to any of its other roles.
Due to its low level flight capability and maneuverability at low speeds, the airplane can accurately drop payloads of water at very low heights, down to 150ft. In the future, in addition to the development of the production version of this kit, Airbus will analyze this operation also in night time conditions, reinforcing the efficiency and effectiveness of the mission.
AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency