Graham Warwick/ATLANTA

CANADAIR IS PLANNING a series of improvements to the CL-415, which will increase the fire fighting aircraft's utility and provide the basis for the development of planned special-mission variants.

The Bombardier subsidiary says that upgrades now being defined include tail anti-icing and cabin air-conditioning, allowing year-round operations, and a larger aft cargo-door.

Canadair sees a market with fire fighting customers for an enhanced aircraft and is considering offering the upgrades for retrofit. The improved aircraft would form the basis for special-mission variants being discussed with countries such as the Philippines and Turkey.

Bombardier has sold two used CL-215 fire fighting aircraft to the Newfoundland provincial government, which already operates four of the piston-powered water bombers. The aircraft were formerly operated by the Quebec government, which is returning its CL-215s as it takes delivery of turboprop-powered CL-415s.

The CL-215s are now in Portugal, where they are on short-term lease for evaluation by the country's fire fighting agency. A third aircraft, which was on lease to Sweden for evaluation of its performance on fire fighting and coast guard missions, is now also based in Portugal.

The Portuguese evaluation is scheduled to end in October, and Canadair is hopeful of leasing CL-415s to the southern-European nation in 1996.

Source: Flight International