Canadian Government invests in aerial firefighting development

Coulson's Boeing 737. Credit: Coulson

Canadian authorities have announced an investment of CA$3.4 million into Coulson Aircrane Ltd, a British Columbia-based aviation company, whose research and development company is carrying out a project to turn a Boeing 737 plane into a dual-purpose aerial firefighting tanker and passenger aircraft that can be used to fight fires in Canada and elsewhere.

Announced by Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Minister of Accessibility and Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Federal Recovery Efforts for the 2017 and 2018 British Columbia Wildfires, on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the repayable investment has been made through the Strategic Innovation Fund.

The Government of Canada says that the investment will not only help with firefighting efforts in its own country, but also will facilitate collaboration with post-secondary institutions, ensure workers have the skills they need and generate new Canadian intellectual property.

“Our government’s support for Coulson Aircrane demonstrates our commitment to Canada’s aerospace industry – a major engine of innovation and a key contributor of well-paying jobs to the national economy,” said Bains. “By investing in innovative projects like this one at Coulson, we’re creating new opportunities for Canadians from coast to coast. That’s how, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, we’re investing in innovation today to create the jobs of tomorrow.”

Coulson CEO Wayne Coulson said that the investment was ‘instrumental’ in the company’s conversion of airliners into tankers. “We are proud that the newly completed air tankers will begin fighting forest fires globally this fall and that we are currently converting another airliner,” he added.

Coulson Aircrane currently works with firefighting agencies in Canada, the US and Australia.

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