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.
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.