Date : Dec 10,2023 Category : industry news Global news
Airbus Defence and Space achieved a significant milestone with the successful flight-test campaign of the A400M Roll-on/Roll-off firefighting prototype kit.

In a recent feat of innovation, Airbus Defence and Space conducted an extensive flight-test campaign for the A400M Roll-on/Roll-off firefighting prototype kit. The aircraft successfully dropped 20,000 litres of retardant, creating high concentration lines over 400 meters on the ground.

Over a span of two weeks, the A400M underwent a comprehensive ground and flight-test campaign in south-western and central Spain. This involved six drops, with three utilizing red-coloured retardant and three using water.

Jean-Brice Dumont, Head of Military Air Systems at Airbus Defence and Space, highlighted the improvements in dropping efficiency and a remarkable 30% reduction in discharge time compared to the previous year. The new version of the kit boasts rapid deployment and easy installation on the A400M aircraft, contributing to the ongoing efforts to protect populations and natural environments from fires.

The roll-on/roll-off kit stands out for its easy installation, requiring no modifications to the aircraft, making it interchangeable with any aircraft in the A400M fleet. The water or retardant is stored in a tank in the cargo hold, and a mechanical lever opens a door to allow the liquid to flow out by gravity through a discharge pipe. The prototype design can drop an impressive 20,000 litres in a single discharge.

Remarkably, the tanks can be filled in less than 10 minutes using standard high-pressure pumps on the ground. The A400M's unique features, including its ability to take off and land on short and unpaved runways, make it versatile for a wide range of air bases and airfields.

Throughout the campaign, the 43rd Firefighting Squadron of the Spanish Air Force played a crucial role as technical advisors, ensuring that the A400M's firefighting capability has operational value for potential operators.

In a groundbreaking move in July 2022, Airbus tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A400M for the first time. The company's conclusion emphasized that the A400M firefighting kit offers unparalleled capabilities not available on the market. These include high-dropping capacity, exceptional manoeuvrability meeting the latest safety standards, day and night operation, and the potential to convert any regular A400M in any fleet into a firefighting aircraft at very short notice.

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