Airbus completes second round of tests of C295 airtanker

Airbus C295 water drop test
C295 water drop test. Airbus photo.

As Fire Aviation told you on October 22, Airbus is experimenting with a C295 that has been converted into an air tanker. The first tests were designed to monitor the performance of the aircraft as the water was released. In the second phase the company conducted seven water drops at a range near Cordoba, Spain where water was dropped into a grid of cups which measured the amount of water. After the engineers analyze the data they will know the volume and consistency of the drop pattern across the grid. The Interagency AirTanker Board requires similar tests before issuing federal certification for air tankers in the United States.

C295 924-gallon tank
One of the two 924-gallon tanks that would be used to hold water or retardant in the C-295. Airbus photo.

During the tests the C295 was outfitted with one tank in the cabin which held 924 gallons (3,500 liters). The water was gravity-ejected through two doors installed in the belly of the aircraft. Airbus plans to use two of the roll-on/roll-off tanks, raising the capacity to 1,848 gallons (7,000 liters). This is about the same number of gallons the C-27J is expected to carry if it were converted into an air tanker.

The concept is similar to the system used on Coulson’s Tanker 131, a C-130Q which carries 3,500 gallons in what Coulson has named the Coulson RADS-XL Tank after they bought the rights package for the RADS tank from Aero Union. Britt Coulson told us that if anyone wants to outfit an air tanker with that tank they will need to talk to his company.

C-130 retardant tank unload
Removing the 3,500-gallon retardant tank from Coulson’s C-130Q. Coulson photo.

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5 thoughts on “Airbus completes second round of tests of C295 airtanker”

  1. Multirole airplanes have a great advantage … they can do other missions during the winter.

    I believe the Rads on the Herc’ is one of the best Tank system available in the industry.

  2. hi jérôme,
    the French laboratory that conducted the tests for airbus is the center of testing and research of the ENTENTE POUR LA FORET MEDITERRANENNE (CEREN) located in Valabre near Aix en Provence (south of France).

    this laboratory is conducted all the test for french air tanker of the french civil protection (CL 415, S2T, Dash Q400, Air tractor AT 802).


  3. Can someone inform me about the advantages of this system when compared with dedicated planes like the Canadair CL215?

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