Simplex introduces internal tank for Blackhawks

There are two versions, holding 850 or 1,000 gallons

Above: The Simplex 850-gallon Fire Attack System installed on PJ Helicopters’ UH-60 Utility Hawk. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

For decades Simplex Aerospace has been manufacturing devices used by aerial firefighters, including the Helitorch and various internal and belly-mounted water tanks for helicopters. This year they added to the list by developing an internal water tank for Blackhawk helicopters. The 850-gallon tank can be installed in less than 15 minutes in several models of Sikorsky ships, including the S-70i, S-70A, UH-60A, and UH-60L.

According to the company, the 850-gallon tank drops water through the cargo hook well “with minimal modifications to the aircraft”. They also have a 1,000-gallon version with three dispersal doors, which requires “minimal modifications to the aircraft skin”.

Simplex internal blackhawk water tank
The Simplex 850-gallon Fire Attack System installed on the PJ Helicopters’ UH-60 Utility Hawk. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

While hovering, the tanks can be refilled at a rate of 1,000 gallons per minute, or on the ground using ports on either side. Pilots can select the number of drops, flow rate, and percentage of foam concentrate to be mixed with the water.  There is also an automatic emergency water drop feature.

Mark Zimmerman, Simplex’s CEO said “Simplex’s internal Fire Attack systems eliminate the need for the Blackhawk gear extensions required for belly mounted tanks, making the internal tanks ideally suited for civil Blackhawk operators.”

Simplex receives STC for Chinook internal tank

Above: A Chinook with the Simplex Model 347 internal tank for firefighting. Simplex photo.

The following is a Simplex press release.

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Simplex Aerospace was recently granted a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) supplemental type certificate for a Fire Attack System (FAS) for the Columbia Helicopters CH-47D helicopter. The system is an internal/external system, comprised of a roll-on/roll-off internal tank system connected to an external plenum.

The Simplex Aerospace Model 347 FAS is the largest helicopter firefighting system in the world.

The Model 347 is comprised of a 3,050-gallon internal tank with a 2,800-gallon water reservoir, approximately 110 gallons of water through the hookwell and 140-gallon foam concentrate reservoir that can be loaded from the helicopter’s rear loading ramp. The system also includes a 12-foot-long, 10-inch diameter hover pump, capable of refilling the tank in less than one minute.

The system includes ground fill ports so the tank can be pre-filled and ready to go at a moment’s notice. The entire contents of the FAS can be dropped in less than four seconds.

The Simplex Model 347 has the capability for the pilot to select drop patterns ranging from a single drop to multiple drops depending on the demands of the mission. An automatic emergency water drop feature is included on all Simplex Fire Attack systems in the event of an aircraft power outage.

This new Simplex FAS can be installed on the helicopter using only four bolts. Only minor modifications are required to provision for FAS installation.

The gravity-fed Fire Attack tank is installed in the aircraft cabin; then connected to a sleeve, which extends through the aircraft hookwell, joining an external plenum in the belly. Vne (never exceed speed) for the Simplex 347 FAS is 140 knots, with or without the hover pump installed.

Water drops can be made at up to 100 knots. Newly developed pilot control and display allow for U.S. Forest Service Type-one compliance. The pilot controls can be configured to show water volume, and ground refilling volume displaying gallons (or weight) on both the flight deck and ground fill input location.

“This new and innovative CH-47D FAS for Columbia Helicopters is the largest helicopter FAS in the world today,” said Mark Zimmerman, Simplex president and CEO. “With total water evacuation in under four seconds, it is the most cost-effective FAS available to operators around the world.”

Zimmerman went on to say, “the system was developed for installation with very minimal aircraft provisioning required, making installation fast and cost effective.”