Climate change and land-use change are leading to an increase in wildfire season length, wildfire frequency, and burned area. Now wildfires are also ravaging previously unaffected parts of the planet. According to a UN report, wildfires are expected to increase by 14% by 2030 and a 30% increase by 2050.
So Defense and Space wing of the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus has stepped in to combat wildfires. Airbus has converted its existing planes into firefighting aircraft.
Aircraft can be promptly reconfigured for a “rapid reaction to unforeseen fires”
Recently the company successfully tested a removable firefighting demonstrator kit for its A400M aircraft. The firefighting kit is a rolled-on-rolled-off (RORO) solution. It can be used on any aircraft of the A400M fleet without any alteration.
The test campaign took place in daylight conditions in Spain. Flying at an altitude of 150 feet and a flight speed of 125 knots it was able to drop 20 tonnes of water in less than 10 seconds.
“The development of this firefighting kit is an intrinsic part of our journey towards helping to create a more sustainable and safer world, not only by our actions but also through our products,” said Mike Schellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “We strongly believe the A400M can play a vital role in the fight against the ever-increasing threat posed by wildfires and support the restoration of social and environmental systems.”