Sécurité Civile, the civil defense agency of the French government, will soon need to replace their aging fleet of nine Conair Turbo Firecat fire bombers and have recently considered potentially choosing the new Bombardier 415 Superscooper in order to modernize their fleet. Sécurité Civile’s current existing fleet of Firecat bombers, some of which have served as long as 58 years, were originally converted from Grumman S-2 Trackers; their type certificate is soon to expire in 2020.
Victor Devouge, the aerial division chief of Sécurité Civile, has said that the French government hopes to retire Conair Turbo Firecat fire bombers sometime between 2018 and 2022. This time frame is in line with their aircrafts’ structural life limit 25,000 flight hours, which will call for a two-year type certification extension. As they replace their fleet, France intends on acquiring a multirole aircraft which can deliver greater volumes of water while simultaneously reducing operating costs as well as acquisition costs. In the weeks to come, it is anticipated that an international call will be published for tenders to offer a replacement with wildfire fighting capabilities.
Devouge spoke in Sacramento, California, at the Aerial Firefighting International conventional this week, and suggested that a contract will be awarded in 2017 in order for aircraft deliveries to take place in 2018. France’s firefighting service already operates twelve Superscooper amphibians, as Devogue has expressed disappointment that the production of the 415 has paused due to a lack or orders. The three most recent aircrafts were delivered to Aero-Flite and are capable of scooping up 1,621 GL, or 6140L, in a dozen seconds.
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