The original order, from March 2020, concerns the capability of fighting fires with two bucketing aircraft yearly, from 1 April to 30 September, through to 2023. MSB is now exercising the option in the contract for two more aircraft, beginning with the 2021 fire season. This is a resource that will be available both for Sweden and for the European Union.
During the past year, Saab has established capabilities in the form of Air Tractor AT-802 F firefighting aircraft, with pilots and technicians, as well as specific permits for operation. During the summer, MSB decided to deploy Saab aircraft and pilots to fight a total of five different forest fires.
Swedish national defence system bolstered by firefighting capability
"We are proud to be a part of the Swedish national defence system and we are looking forward to expanding our firefighting capabilities with two more aircraft and several pilots. Prompt national responses to forest fires are important," says Ellen Molin, Head of Saab's Business Area Support and Services.
The AT-802 F is a water-bombing aircraft that can release 35,000 to 50,000 liters of water per hour in the event of, for example, a forest fire. The firefighting aircraft will be based in Nyköping, where Saab already has aviation operations for, among other things, aerial target services and support for Swedish Coast Guard aircraft. From Nyköping, the aircraft can reach Copenhagen or eastern Finland within two hours and Luleå within three hours. If necessary, resources can be based at another location with advanced technical and maintenance resources.
AirMed&Rescue is focusing on different areas of the world, looking at the various firefighting resources available to governments through private contracts and governmental departments. Most recently, aerial firefighting in North America was examined.