Another Dash 8-Q400 MR air tanker has been delivered to Sécurité Civile in France.
This is the fourth Q400 in the agency’s fleet and the second of six Q400 MR aircraft that the agency is in the process of acquiring from Conair, which purchased the planes from the manufacturer, Bombardier. Conair converted them into multi-role aircraft capable of transporting passengers and dropping fire retardant, water, or foam.
Tanker 76 departed from Abbotsford, British Columbia on January 31. Before reaching its final destination at Nimes-Garons in France on February 2 it made stops at Thunder Bay, Goose Bay, and Iceland.
The Q400 MR can carry up to 10,000 liters (2,600 gallons) of water or retardant. The “MR” stands for multirole, meaning the aircraft can be converted in a few hours to carry passengers or cargo. It can cruise at 372 mph and has a range of 1,118 miles. The aircraft is equipped with the AN Enhanced Flight Vision System, providing an image in the visible or infrared spectrum.
In a medevac configuration it can accommodate six stretchers along with the necessary nurses stations and life support equipment, or it can transport 9 tons of cargo.
For several years Sécurité Civile had been pondering what to do about replacing their nine S-2s that are approaching their structural life limit of 25,000 hours, according to the agency. Their plans announced in 2016 were to retire the S-2s 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.
In addition to the nine S-2s and two Q-400s, France also has twelve CL-415s and 40 helicopters.
The article was edited on Feb. 19, 2020 to show that this newest aircraft is not the fourth Q400 delivered on the current agreement with Conair, it is the fourth Q400 in the agency’s fleet, and the second of six being purchased from Conair.