A350 XWB to feature halon-free fire-suppression

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Pacific Scientific Aerospace is to provide the engine and auxiliary power unit (APU) fire-suppression systems on the Airbus A350 XWB and for the first time will not use halon as the firefighting agent.

The company has also won the cargo-hold fire-suppression contract but will use halon for that application as certification has not yet been approved.

Pacific Scientific's HTL/Kin-Tech division in Duarte, California will perform the work, and the new firefighting agent for the engine and APU applications will almost certainly be 3M's Novec product.

Pacific Scientific says: "The system incorporates advanced distribution and agent-management technologies to provide an ETOPS-capable fire-protection system that will ensure the highest level of extended-range flight safety by exceeding regulatory requirements while minimising system weight, and optimising reliability, maintainability and performance."

Company president Greg Beason notes that Pacific Scientific still manufactures halon-based systems on a series of aircraft, but is using Novec in light of environmental legislation against halon. "It clearly appears to be the way of the future," he says.

Beason hopes to win contracts with other airframers and also raises the possibility of retrofitting in-service types, commenting: "So the question is can we put this environmental agent on existing aircraft. And how do we leverage our relationship with Airbus as regards the other operators."