France to replace their S-2 air tankers with Q400’s

Q400MR Bombardier photo.

Above: Bombardier Q400MR — Bombardier Photo.

(Originally published at 3:52 p.m. MDT July 29, 2017.)

France’s Securite Civile (Department of Civil Defence and Emergency Preparedness) is replacing their ageing turbine-powered S-2 air tankers with Bombardier Q400-MR’s. The bids for the contract were advertised in 2016 and this week Gérard Collomb, Minister of the Interior, announced that they will place an order for six of the Multi-role aircraft that can carry up to 2,600 US gallons of water or retardant.

For several years Securite Civile has been pondering what to do about replacing their S-2’s that are approaching their structural life limit of 25,000 hours, according to the agency. Their plans announced last year were to retire the nine 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. The Q400 MR (the MR stands for “Multi-Role) can haul cargo or passengers in addition to operating in the firefighting realm.

Q400MR Bombardier
Bombardier Q400MR dropping retardant. Bombardier photo.

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 9 S-2’s and 2 Q-400’s, France also has 11 or 12 CL-415’s and 40 helicopters.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Isaac.
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4 thoughts on “France to replace their S-2 air tankers with Q400’s”

  1. Sécurité Civile fleet is exactly 12 CL-415.

    The 40 Sécurité Civile helicopters (EC-145 call sign “Dragon”) are not mainly involved in firefighting. They are mostly rescue helicopters (rescue at sea and mountain, Medevac). They are not water bombers.

    There is water bombers helos in France, but they are contracted by local agencies.

  2. Why does no one in the US pursue this route? Obviously cost must be an issue along with the 2600 gallons. But it seems like a logical choice for an aircraft.

  3. The Dash8Q400MR has a great Tank system and it’s a fast airplane.
    The french like the Multirole part. It’s being used in the winter to carry passengers; Swat teams, prisoners, etc.
    Yes, it’s certainly an airplane to consider.

  4. Looks interesting indeed ! Does anyone know who makes the conversion for Bombardier ? I presume these are second hand converted aircraft !

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