CALGARY -- Bridger Aerospace Group of Bozeman, Montana has become the initial multiple-aircraft launch customer for the Viking CL-415EAF Enhanced Aerial Firefighter conversion program. Bridger has signed a purchase agreement for up to five CL-415EAFs. The first two aircraft are scheduled for delivery in early 2020, with the remaining three aircraft slated to be delivered in subsequent years.
Earlier this year, Longview Aviation Asset Management (LAAM) teamed with Viking Air to formally launched the CL-415EAF conversion program. The CL-415EAF combines the CL-215 airframe with modern upgrades.
To initiate the CL-415EAF program, eleven specially-selected CL-215 aircraft are slated to undergo the CL-415EAF modification process at LAAM's Calgary facilities utilizing Viking-supplied conversion kits.
Bridger president Tim Sheehy said, "We are pleased to be the launch customer for LAAM and Viking's new Enhanced Aerial Firefighter aircraft program. Bridger has continually positioned itself on the forefront of next-generation aerial firefighting techniques and this is yet another step in that direction. We look forward to receiving these aircraft to combat the ever-increasing wildfire danger in the United States, and we believe that the CL-415EAF aircraft is an ideal platform for that mission."
Robert Mauracher, LAAM Chief Operating Officer, commented, "We are very excited to be partnering with Bridger Aerospace as the first international launch customer for the CL-415EAF program. Bridger's recognition of the benefits offered by an amphibious aircraft to protect the environment and local communities throughout the United States is a key indicator of the suitability of the CL-415EAF for the U.S. firefighting market, and we look forward to working together in the development of these aircraft."
The CL-415EAF features a new integrated digital avionics suite, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW123AF turboprop engines, increased fire-retardant capacity, and improvements to various aircraft systems. All obsolete components impacting the worldwide fleet of CL-215s and CL-415s will be replaced in the CL-415EAF, and the upgraded aircraft will be designed to failsafe FAR 25 certification criteria with no preset life limit.
The improvements and obsolescence issues addressed by Viking for the CL-415EAF aircraft would become the new-production standard should Viking elect to launch manufacture of an all-new, multipurpose amphibious aircraft known as the CL-515.