Eurocopter plans to deliver the first firefighting-configured EC225 helicopter next year. The move follows a 10-week trial of a converted EC725 in Corsica by Eurocopter and the French interior ministry.
"All equipment on the EC725 serving a purely military purpose [weaponry, optronic turret, countermeasures] was removed from the aircraft, which then corresponded to an EC225 configuration," says the EADS subsidiary.
The aircraft, which is stationed at Bastia-Poretta, was fitted with a firefighting system developed by Eurocopter consisting of a flexible 4,000 litre (1,050USgal) tank attached to the floor of the cabin and a scoop and water jettison kit. "The entire system located in the cabin can be assembled and dismantled in less than 20min," it says.