Airbus has successfully tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit on the A400M airlifter during a flight test campaign in Spain, the company writes in a press release. This 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 A400M to carry out this new role with the kit. The development of this prototype and the tests have been carried out in 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.
The Airbus firefighting solution created for the A400M is a roll-on/roll-off (RORO) kit that requires no modification to the aircraft and therefore is interchangeable to any aircraft in the A400M 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.
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