The Conair Group has purchased six Q400 MR aircraft from Bombardier which it will convert into multirole air tankers for France’s Securite Civile (Department of Civil Defence and Emergency Preparedness). Fire Aviation first covered France’s decision to acquire six Q400s in July, 2017, but now we have confirmation that Conair will purchase the aircraft, convert them into multirole air tankers, and then transfer them to Securite Civile.
The Q400 MR can carry up to 10,000 liters (2,600 gallons) of water or retardant. The “MR” stands for multirole, meaning the aircraft can be converted in a few hours to carry passengers.
In a medevac configuration it can accommodate six stretchers along with the necessary nurses stations and life support equipment, or it can transport 9 tons of cargo.
For several years Securite Civile has been pondering what to do about replacing their nine S-2’s that are approaching their structural life limit of 25,000 hours, according to the agency. Their plans announced in 2016 were to retire the S-2’s between 2018 and 2022 which would require a two-year extension of the type certificate. The goal was to acquire aircraft that could carry more water or retardant, would reduce operating costs, and would be multi-role.
France considered the CL-415 water-scooping amphibious tanker formerly made by Bombardier, but it is no longer in production with the program being sold to Viking Air Limited in 2016. Viking is considering manufacturing them again, but for now they are providing service and support for the CL-215’s and CL-415’s operating around the world.
Securite Civile has operated two Q-400 air tankers since 2005, so retiring the S-2’s and acquiring more Q-400’s will reduce the complexity of the maintenance and operation of their fleet.
In addition to the nine S-2’s and two Q-400’s, France also has eleven or twelve CL-415’s and 40 helicopters.
Here is the automatic translation of the text in the following tweet by the Minister of the Interior:
I was involved this summer, with the fires that have affected our country: I just signed the acquisition of 6 Multirole aircraft for civil security. ✅ We renew our fleet air for fire fighting & project forces and material.
If you do not see the photos in the tweet below, click HERE.
🖊️✈️ Je m’y étais engagé cet été, lors des incendies qui ont touché notre pays : je viens de signer l’acquisition de 6 avions-multimissions pour la sécurité civile.
— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) January 15, 2018