Pressure is on for Israel to improve its fighting fleet. A new version of the Airbus C-295 is being evaluated. In the wake of the 2010 Carmel Forest blaze that caused heavy casualties, Israel has purchased some Air Tractor 802 light fighting aircraft. These are operational but some experts say that they are not enough.
According to Aviation Week, Airbus Military has tested a roll-on, roll-off fighting system for use on its C295 medium airlifter. The self-funded development program aims to widen the multi-mission capability and appeal of the twin-turboprop transport. Early trials conducted at a site near Cordoba, Spain, in October tested how the aircraft reacts when large amounts of water are released. Since then, the company has conducted further tests using the prototype C295 equipped with tanks in the rear cabin releasing water through doors installed in the aircraft’s belly.
In a fighting configuration, the aircraft will be fitted with two 3,500-liter tanks in the cargo bay of the aircraft. Although the configuration requires holes to be cut into the aircraft’s fuselage, Airbus Military officials say that the belly-mounted option provides the most effective configuration for water release. Further trials undertaken at the end of November saw the aircraft flying seven water drop sorties.
|Air Tractor 802 in Action.|