De Havilland Canada has secured orders from a pair of European states for a total of nine DHC-515 Firefighter amphibious water bombers – the first deals under an EU initiative to build up the bloc’s firefighting capacity.

To be acquired in separate government-to-government transactions through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), Croatia will take two of the new-generation firefighting aircraft, while Greece will receive seven. Both contracts include spare parts, training, and maintenance support.

DHC-515-c-De Havilland Canada

Source: De Havilland Canada

DHC-515 gains new engines and modernised avionics

Croatia already operates six earlier-generation CL-415 aircraft and Greece 17 CL-215/415s, Cirium fleets data records.

Both transactions have benefitted from funding from the EU’s rescEU civil protection mechanism, which is building up a pool of firefighting aircraft across the bloc and other participating states.

“This is an important step to acquiring the aircraft which will help protect citizens not just in Croatia and Greece but across Europe,” says Janez Lenarcic, EU Commissioner for crisis management.

A total of €600 million ($650 million) in EU funds will be used to purchase 12 new aircraft, which will be hosted across six EU member states: Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain.

The Greek parliament on 21 March approved the purchase of its seven aircraft – two of which are financed by the EU – for €361 million, Reuters reports; deliveries are scheduled to run over the 2027-2030 period.

Launched in 2022, the DHC-515 builds on the earlier CL-215/415 programmes which were acquired by De Havilland Canada in 2016. It features new Pratt & Whitney Canada PW127 turboprop engines and modernised avionics. 

When it announced the plans to restart production, the airframer said it held letters of intent from European customers for the first 22 examples. Deliveries were envisaged to begin by the middle of the decade.