Leonardo’s C-27J Firefighter | Air MagazineFire


Originally designed as a military aircraft, the C-27J is currently used, in particular as a search and rescue aircraft, for the United States Coast Guard. The C-27J is suitable, according to Leonardo, for the most extreme environmental conditions and the most difficult tactical scenarios; the aircraft can land and take off on unprepared runways, and it can be quickly reconfigured using “palletized” mission kits.

The C-27J Next Generation Fire Fighter features a Modular Second Generation Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II) supplied by UAC that allows the aircraft to act as a land-based water bomber.

The fire extinguishing system allows rapid in-flight discharge of a large quantity of liquid (7,950 l/2,100 US Gal) stored in two tanks inside the fuselage (one larger for water/ flame retardant liquid and a smaller one for foam). The fluid is evacuated by the nozzle installed on the ‘stub’ door on the left side of the paratroopers. The liquid release system is controllable and allows for the addition of foam retarder with variable concentration controls.

The system can be easily installed and removed (roll-on/roll-off) via the rear loading ramp by a minimum team in 90 min. Dedicated ground support equipment (GSE) is available on a pallet that can be loaded onto the C-27J aircraft ramp and transported with the MAFFS system when deploying the aircraft to a forward operating base. The GSE is unloaded from the aircraft and used when filling the tanks. The GSE does not require an external power supply and can also be used in remote operating areas.

The capabilities and performance of the C-27J Next Generation at low altitudes and in hot, high conditions are perfectly suited for firefighting. With day and night capabilities, excellent situational awareness and low workload are ensured with modern avionics. The large cockpit windows allow excellent outward visibility, essential during firefighting missions, usually at low altitudes.

The multi-mission C-27J equipped with a dedicated communications suite allows it to operate as a “net-centric”, fully integrated solution with different resources on the ground, in the air and in space, via radio communications, data links and satellite communications.

The Fire Fighter configuration is a flexible solution, ideal for enhancing the capabilities of the C-27J Next Generation multi-mission aircraft with significantly lower acquisition and operating costs than a dedicated counter-attack platform. fires.

When not in use in firefighting duties, the aircraft can be quickly reconfigured for a wide range of transportation, humanitarian and disaster relief, civil defense and HRH.

A first fight against the fire solution for the C-27J, developed in cooperation with Caylym, includes a “Guardian” system, which allows the release of 6 biodegradable water/fire retardant containers that can be effectively dropped from a safe altitude (500-1,500 feet), also at night, on a single passage without any modification of the aircraft To date, this solution has been adopted by the air forces of Peru and Romania and has attracted the interest of many other Spartan operators for its flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Consequently, the Romanian Air Force successfully operated with its C-27Js against the forest fires that hit Greece in 2018, while the Peruvian Fuerza Aerea Peruana gained full operational capability using the system Caylym “Guardian” and is constantly ready to intervene in case of emergency.

A key factor for the C-27J, compared to traditional firefighting and therefore “single-mission” fixed-wing aircraft solutions, is that the solutions developed for the C-27J Spartan platform allow aircraft Leonardo’s Fire Fighter to operate with great efficiency against wildfires while retaining the ability to be quickly reconfigured to perform a wide range of military and civil defense operational tasks.

The MAAFS solution can be adapted to equip C-27J aircraft already in service – today there are a total of 87 “Spartans” operated by 16 military customers worldwide – with effective firefighting solutions .

The C-27J Spartan embodies the essence of the concept of national security, proving to be an ideal solution for a vital contribution to humanitarian support, civil protection tasks and military operations. In a world affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, wildfires and many other emergencies, the Spartan has proven capable of providing effective and sustained support to communities around the world.

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