Canada’s provincial Saskatchewan government is acquiring four De Havilland Canada Dash 8-400 turboprops for use in firefighting and safety roles.

The four aircraft – two -400AT airtankers and two multi-role -400MREs – will start being introduced in late summer 2025.

They will replace four Convair 580s which are nearing the end of their 25-year operational life.

“Saskatchewan relies on land-based airtanker aircraft as part of its approach to managing wildfires,” says public safety minister Paul Merriman.

“These aircraft are used in instances where water-bombers may not be able to access lakes to fill up their tanks.”

Saskatchewan Dash 8-400 Airtanker-c-Conair

Source: Conair

Dash 8s will replace Saskatchewan’s ageing fleet of Convair firefighters

Abbotsford-based aerial firefighting specialist Conair Group will provide the aircraft to the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency.

The acquisition is valued at around C$187 million.

Both Dash 8-400MREs are capable of serving as airtankers or being reconfigured to support evacuation, patient transport, cargo carriage or other operations.

Conair Aerial Firefighting chief Matt Bradley says the Saskatchewan fleet will offer “first-in, last-out capability” and provide “essential services from response through recovery”.

“They are the first province to invest in the safety and security of their citizens with a purchase of the multi-role airtankers,” he adds.

All four aircraft will be delivered by the end of 2027.

Merriman says they will support the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency’s ability to address emergencies and safety events “beyond wildfires”.