PAS19: Leonardo unveils the Spartan Firefighter

By David Oliver

An added role to Leonardo’s C-27J Spartan tactical transport aircraft was launched at Le Bourget 2019, in firefighting configuration. The C-27J firefighter with roll-on/roll-off Fire Attack System (FAS) made by Simplex Aerospace, a leading provider of advanced aerial application systems, represents an effective solution in airborne firefighting technology and capability. Leonardo told EDR On-Line that this enhanced firefighter configuration is a flexible solution for enhancing the capabilities of the C-27J multi-mission aircraft with significantly lower acquisition and operating costs than a dedicated firefighting platform.

The Simplex roll-on/roll-off Fire Attack System can be easily installed or removed by a small team in approximately 60-90 minutes via the aircraft’s rear loading ramp with no major structural modifications required to the airframe. The main tank has a maximum capacity of 10,600 litre (2,800 US gallons) and an additional 568 litre (150 US gallons) of foam retardant can also be added. Retardant exit is via “S” ducts installed in paratrooper “stub” doors locked up in position. Flow can be controlled to contour drop pattern via variable butterfly valves, controlled by rotary actuators, in the “S” ducts. Fill time is between 60 and 90 seconds, while evacuation of the tank takes less than 7 seconds. The system has an emergency dump control.

The firefighting system is one of the options that Spartan customers can add to the C-27J 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. The firefighting capability and the new baseline configuration are also being offered as a retrofit to current operators that want to upgrade their C-27J fleet. While offering the C-27J Firefighter with the Simplex Fire Attack System, Leonardo, in collaboration with the European SCODEV Consortium, is also studying and testing a further innovative solution to enhance the C-27J’s firefighting potential. The SCODEV scooping device will provide increased operational flexibility by allowing the water tank to be filled from a stretch of water, without the need to return to base. The system will provide a scooping device for the safe loading of water from sea, lakes, and rivers from around 30 metres above the surface, used in combination with the roll-on/roll-off system. When not used in firefighting duties, the aircraft can be quickly reconfigured for transport, humanitarian support, civil protection and SAR roles.

Photo courtesy Leonardo