AERO UNION, THE California-based aerial fire-fighting-systems specialist, plans to begin negotiations with Cessna early in 1996 over plans to fit a tank-based fire-retardant delivery system to the Caravan utility aircraft.

Aero Union commercial tank-works marketing manager Tom Prescott says: "We will be negotiating in the first quarter of next year about working with them on this." The company is also talking to Washington-based Soloy, which is developing a modified Caravan powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 turboprops acting through a DualPac combining gearbox.

Soloy demonstrated the prototype aircraft to Aero Union in September during its return journey from the National Business Aircraft Association show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Aero Union says the Caravan retardant aerial delivery system (C-RADS) has a computer-controlled door system that offers multiple flow rate combinations selected by the pilot. A salvo will discharge the entire load from the 1,895L (500 US gal) capacity tank in just over one second.

The tank and operating mechanisms are detachable from the Caravan and can be replaced by the standard cargo pod. Aero Union, which is better known for its fire-fighting conversions of larger aircraft, says the Caravan concept is part of an effort to expand to new conversions and products.

"There is some interest in the Caravan and C-RADS, particularly in Central and South America," says Prescott.

*Aero Union is supplying the Tunisian Ministry of Defense with an 11,350L modular airborne fire fighting system for its C-130.

Source: Flight International