Above: German Army Sikorsky CH-53G Super Stallion (reg. 84+99, sn V65-97) at ILA Berlin Air Show 2016. By Julian Herzog.
There is discussion underway in Germany about the need for additional aircraft for battling vegetation fires. Their military presently has access to numerous CH-53G Sea Stallion helicopters after having purchased 110 in the early 1970s. The huge aircraft can carry water in an external bucket but not all of the military pilots are trained in dropping water on wildfires.
Below are excerpts from a very rough automatic computer translation of an article at the Cockpit website in Germany.
…According to the European Commission, in 2016 it burned 777 times in Greece, 608 times in Germany. Portugal had 13,261 fires in most European fires, with 8,717 fires behind Spain. According to the German Fire Brigade Association (DFV) was a situation, such as in Greece, but hardly possible. This is because of the different type of vegetation and the preventive measures such as fire cutting. In international comparison, Germany also has a very strong fire brigade with over one million firefighters. There are also more access roads and hydrants in the forest than in Greece, for example. That’s right. But Harald Ebner, Greens Bundestag spokesman for forest policy, nevertheless pleads for extinguishing aircraft, although they may not be needed as often as in other states. “For the possible case of large forest fires it needs sufficient specialists and good equipment, for example with airplanes,” he said.
Harald Ebner is pushing for a speedy deployment of a squadron with multiple surface aircraft, not only to protect German forests and agricultural areas, but also to provide other countries with the necessary support if needed. Experts even assume that countries like Sweden and Poland could share the costs of a permanent task force with Germany. A service water airport in Brandenburg or Mecklenburg-Vorpommern seems to be the most suitable. The only current handicap: amphibious aircraft may only take off and land in a few German waters. Here, the legislature would first be obliged to make special arrangements, even if it is a matter for the Länder.
Soon CL-515 in use?
But simply not buying, unfortunately, is not, because the production of amphibious aircraft was discontinued at Bombardier 2015.
An airfield in British Columbia is home to eleven used but under-used CL-215 aircraft, which will now receive new Pratt & Whitney turboprop engines and new avionics. The first so-called CL-415 Enhanced Aerial Firefighter (EAF) is to be delivered in good time before the forest fire season 2020 to Bridger Aerospace from the US state of Montana. The aviation service provider Viking Air, which specializes in fighting forest fires, has ordered five aircraft. But since most of the CL-415, which has been in operation for a long time, are also in use in the Mediterranean countries, Viking Air now wants to decide on a new edition of the Canadair firefighting aircraft at the end of this year.