Coulson to supply retardant systems for Airbus C295W

The Coulson Group has signed a memorandum of understanding to provide fire retardant systems for Airbus’ C295W aircraft. 

C295 test drop
C295 test drop. Airbus photo.

Under the terms of the agreement Coulson will develop and manufacture a version of its Retardant Dropping System (RDS) which is already being used in two C-130 air tankers operated by Coulson.

The system installed in the C295W will consist of two roll-on/roll-off internal tanks which can be removed after the fire season. The aircraft will then be available for its conventional role as a ramp-equipped, multi-role transport able to carry cargo, troops, paratroops, or stretchers.

C295W Airbus graphic

The RDS for the C295W will include two internal tanks of 924 gallons each (3,500 liters), for a total of 1,848 gallons (7,000 liters). When dropping, the flow-rate can be adjusted via the cockpit control panel according to the desired coverage, aircraft speed, and height over terrain.

A prototype C295W air tanker has been flying since 2013 as a proof of concept. After it was deemed a success, Airbus turned to Coulson to adapt their existing C-130 system to the smaller C295W.

Coulson Aircrane manager, Britton Coulson said:

We are an on-going partner for Airbus and expect to deliver multiple systems per year on a continuous basis. There are over 130 C-295’s flying around the world with many more on order that are potential RDS upgrade candidates.

C295 Chilean Navy Airbus
C295 operated by the Chilean Navy. Airbus photo.

The C295, manufactured in Seville, Spain, was introduced in 2001. An enhanced performance version with winglets and uprated engines, the C295W, was announced in 2013. As of August, 2015, Airbus had delivered 136 of the C295 series aircraft with another 26 on order.

Coulson had the following promotional video produced for the 2015 Hercules Operators Conference.

Airbus begins tests of C295 air tanker

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

Airbus Military has begun tests near Cordoba, Spain of a C295 aircraft modified as an air tanker. The flights went well, according to the company, and further tests are planned in the near future to make a more detailed analysis of the C295 as a firefighter aircraft.

The C295 looks similar to the C-27J but it has less impressive performance. According to Wikipedia (see the links above) the payload capacity of the C295 is about 5,000 pounds less and the engines have 57 percent of the horsepower of the C-27J. It would probably carry about 400 gallons less retardant than the C-27J, with a capacity of around 1,400 to 1,700 gallons is our guess.

Comparison, C-27J and C295
Comparison, C-27J and C295. Info from Wikipedia. (click to enlarge)

Rumor has it that France is considering replacing their fleet of Conair Turbocats, which are retrofitted Grumman S-2 Trackers.

A Polish Air Force CASA C-295M
A Polish Air Force CASA C-295M


Thanks go out to Walter