MISSION: CAL FIRE uses the S-2T airtankers for fast initial attack delivery of fire retardant on wildland fires.
CREW: (1) Single Pilot
Retardant Payload: Up to 1,200 gallons (1,000 gals standard for IA)
Gross Weight: 29,150 pounds
Max. Operating Speed: 235 KTS
Wing Span: 73 feet
Endurance: 3 hour mission fuel
Engines: Two 1,650 horsepower turbine engines
The CAL FIRE S-2T airtankers set the standard for initial attack to deliver fire retardant on wildland fires. These airtankers are strategically located throughout California and can respond to the most remote State Responsibility Areas (SRA) within approximately 20 minutes.
In 1996, CAL FIRE acquired 26 S-2E/G planes from the Federal Excess Personal Property (FEPP) program. Marsh Aviation converted the planes to a firefighting configuration and were retrofitted with modern, powerful turboprop engines. The completely reconditioned S-2Ts are faster, safer, more maneuverable and carry a larger retardant payload than the original S-2A airtankers CAL FIRE had used since the 1970s. The final three S-2Ts were completed and delivered in 2005. CAL FIRE has 23 S-2T airtankers, one of which is in Sacramento at CAL FIRE’s Aviation Management Unit (AMU) as maintenance relief - Tanker 100.
The North American Rockwell OV-10 Bronco is a turboprop-driven light attack and observation aircraft. It was developed in the 1960s as a special aircraft for COIN (counter insurgency) combat and one of its primary missions was a forward air control (FAC) aircraft. It could carry up to three tons of external munitions and easily loiter for three hours.
Current CalFire aircraft have had all of the armor and weapon systems removed. There is an additional 125 gallon fuel tank in the cargo bay, allowing us to stay over a fire for over 5 hours. CalFire OV10's have also been totally rewired to accommodate up to date avionics and navigation systems, as well as all of the radios required for airtactical control of the fire.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF or CALFIRE) acquired a number of OV-10As, including the six surviving aircraft from the BLM and 13 from the U.S. Navy in 1993, to replace their aging Cessna O-2 Skymasters as air attack aircraft. The CAL FIRE Broncos fly with a crew of two, pilot in front and air attack officer in the back. The pilot maneuvers the aircraft to give the air attack officer a clear view, while the air attack coordinates all aerial assets with the Incident Commander on the ground.
AIR TACTICAL TRAINING AIRCRAFT
Crew: (2) Single Pilot and ATGS Air Tactical or (3) Air Tactical Trainer
Max Operating Speed: 260 KTS IAS
Endurance: 4 to 5 hours, 3.5 to 4 hours typical mission
Wing Span: 55 feet 6.5 inches
Gross Weight: 12,500 lbs
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney PT6A-41, turboprop, 850SHP
The King Air 200 provides CAL FIRE with a pressurized all-weather platform. Its primary use during fire season is as an Air Attack training platform. It provides the same traditional aerial supervision capability as the OV10 Bronco, with the main difference being that the instructor Air Attack Group Supervisor (ATGS) sits behind the ATGS trainee, who is sitting in the right front seat. The instructor ATGS performs as a mentor and coach to the trainee. When not in the ATGS training role, the KING Air 200 can be configured to carry cargo or up to 8 passengers as necessary. The CAL FIRE King Air 200 does not perform in the lead plane or ASM low level role.
Crew: (2) Air Tactical or Aerial Supervision Module (ASM) mission
Max Operating Speed: 250 KTS IAS
Range: 700-800 NM typical
Endurance: 3.5 to 4 hours typical
Wing Span: 40 feet
Gross Weight: 10,500 lbs
Engines: Air Research/Honeywell T-76-G420 (left) -G421 (right) (1040 horsepower each)
The OV10D Bronco provides CAL FIRE with a robust platform capable of performing in the low-level aerial supervision role often required on large or complex wildland fire incidents. Its excellent visibility for both tandem seated crew members allows for ease of tracking of aerial assets and its superior performance capabilities allow it integrate well with a mix of airtankers from SEATS (single engine air tankers) to VLATS (very large air tankers) when performing the lead plane portion of the ASM role.
LARGE AIR TANKER
Crew: (3) Captain, Co-pilot, Flight Engineer
Retardant Payload: 36,000 pounds (4000 US Gallons)
Gross Weight: 155,000 pounds
Max operating Speed: 350 knots
Wing Span: 139 feet
Endurance: 5 hours
Engines: Four (4) Allison T-56-15 (501D) 4,300 HP each
The constant flow gravity retardant tank delivery system being installed in the CALFIRE C-130 airtankers is the best delivery system in the industry. The aircraft's speed, maneuverability and capacity, as well as its ability to work from smaller airfields, will be an outstanding augmentation and force multiplier to the existing fleet of Grumman S-2T airtankers.