In 2016, Heli Austria entered the heavy lift market with four AS332 Super Pumas developing the low empty weight and high performing FIRECATs and considers the Helitak FT4250 fire tank the optimal solution for future worldwide firefighting operations, according to the company. An additional eight AS332 Super Pumas have been acquired which will be offered for wet and dry lease operation overseas.
Further enhancements will be EFIS night vision goggle (NVG) certified cockpits for night firefighting operations. The AS332, now renamed Airbus H215, is certified worldwide for unrestricted commercial operations and is considered as one of the most effective firefighting tools on the market with the FT4250 enhancing its capabilities.
The Super Puma FIRECAT aircraft – whilst being extremely capable in the aerial firefighting space and can carry up to 20 fire, medical or support personnel – lacked the added advantage of a suitable fire tank for the delivery of water to the fire ground. The Helitak design generates the highest amount of head pressure or mechanical force available due to the funnel shape of the retractable water bag. This head pressure provides the operator with ultimately the most controllable water delivery whether it be high canopy penetration or lower level vegetation and grass fire management.
The tank offers a maximum capacity of 4,250 liters (just over 1,100 gallons), fills in 40 to 50 seconds, offers a quick and easy installation and removal and has an empty weight of around 300 kg or 660 pounds with a retracted flying profile of only 300 mm or 12 inches.