Aerial application specialist Isolair is developing a fixed-tank firefighting system for the Kaman K-Max external-lift helicopter. Development is being funded by launch customer Rainier Heli-Lift in Kirkland, Oregon, which operates a single K-Max.

The Eliminator II firefighting system comprises a 3,650 litre (700USgal) carbonfibre tank and a hydraulic hover refill system that will fill the tank in under 1min, says Troutdale, Oregon-based Isolair. The removable U-shaped tank attaches to hardpoints on the K-Max fuselage.

Isolair plans to begin flight tests in the next five to seven weeks and is aiming for US supplemental type certification by 1 June. In the firefighting role, the company says, the K-Max fills the gap between single-engined Bell helicopters and the higher-capacity Sikorsky S-61 and S-64.

Manufacture of the K-Max has been suspended, but Kaman is trying to stimulate demand for the helicopter in the firefighting role in a bid to restart production, says Isolair, which is unveiling the Eliminator II at this week's Heli-Expo show in Anaheim, California. There are 27 of the helicopters in service, the company says.

Source: Flight International