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Water Bombers
(Fire Fighting Aircraft)



Called water bombers, air tankers, super scoopers and fire bombers, their mission is to drop water, foam, and retardants on blazes. Includes pictures, sounds, accomplishments, specifications, and a scale radio control airplane guide.





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You Tube - Water Bombers by Alan Simmons


Antonov An-2 biplane making a water drop

Antonov An-2 Used for smoke jumping and as a water bomber.

Antonov An32P Firekiller   Twin engine turboprop water bombers operating since 1995.

Douglas A-26 Invader A high cruising speed and good maneuverability make them ideal water bombers for mountainous regions.

Aerospatiale AS 332  Water bombers with a 1,000 gallon belly tank used by the U.S. Forest Service and throughout the world.

Eurocopter AS 350  Highly maneuverable water bombers, effective in initial attack and working in tight areas.

Eurocopter AS 532 Cougar   Water bombers used in Europe while carrying a 700 gallon water bucket.

Grumman AF2 Guardian Built for hunting submarines, converted for use as water bombers.

Air Tractor AT 802F Worlds largest dedicated single engine water bombers.

Alouette III  Water bombers used primarily in Europe with Bambi bucket.

Grumman Avenger Created for the sole purpose of delivering torpedoes from the sky against enemy shipping, most recently used as water bombers.

AW139 Medium size helicopter water bombers equipped with 350 gallon belly tank, used by LAFD, Korea, and Malaysia.

BAE 146 Under evaluation by the U.S.F.S. as a replacement for aging water bombers.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress One of the most famous WW II aircraft, once used as water bombers.

Boeing 747 Super Tanker  The largest of all the world water bombers.

Bell 205  Civilian version of famous helicopters used in Vietnam, now very much used as water bombers.

Bell 206 Jet Ranger Set the around the world helicopter speed record, now much used water bombers.

Bell 212  The military version is used for maritime patrol while the civilian version, equipped with a 300 gallon belly tank, is used as a water bomber primarily in the U.S. and Canada.

Bell 214  Model B civilian versions of the Iran Army helicopters have been equipped with a 720 gallon belly tank for use as water bombers.

Bell 407  Medium light water bombers using 238 gallon water buckets.

Beriev Be-200  Amphibian jet powered water bombers produced in Russia, used successfully since 2004.



Douglas C-54, four radial engines water bomber

Douglas C-54  Radial engine powered water bombers equipped with 3,000 gallon retardant tanks used in the U.S. and Canada.

Lockheed C-130 Hercules Water bombers used by the U.S. Forest Service, Air National Guard, and various military services.

Bombardier CL-415 Super Scooper Water bombers that load 1,620 gallons of water in only 12 seconds.



Convair CV-580 twin engine water bomber

Convair CV-580  Water bombers primarily used in Canada, pictured being tested for use in Australia, with 2,000 gallon water tanks.

Douglas DC-6  Four engine propeller driven water bombers with 2,800 gallon tanks.

Douglas DC-7  The largest propeller driven water bombers produced by Douglas Aircraft.

Mc Donnell Douglas DC-10 Super Tanker  One of the largest water bombers.

Eurocopter EC 120 Light helicopter that has been used in Canada, France, and the U.S. as water bombers equipped with a Bambi bucket.

Eurocopter EC 135 Command and control helicopter for water bombers used in blaze suppression.

Eurocopter EC 145 Popular water bombers with smaller municipalities when equipped with a 120 gallon Bambi bucket for fighting blazes.

Eurocopter EC 225  Water bombers that have a water tank holding over 1,000 gallons that can be filled in about 1 1/2 minutes.

Fire Hog "Concept water bombers with jet fighter speed and maneuverability.

FireMax  Kman Firemax water bombers, equipped with a 700 gallon belly tank that can be refilled in 30 seconds, have been in use throughout the northwestern U.S.

Ilyushin IL-76  Water bombers capable of holding 13,000 gallons of water.

Kaman HH-43 Huskie Used by the U.S.A.F. as water bombers.

Lockheed L-188 Electra Maneuverability and speed make them the fastest initial attack water bombers in service today.



PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromander making a water drop

PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromander   Polish single engine water bombers, first flown in 1976, still produced to date.

Martin Mars  Largest active propeller driven and largest production seaplanes; largest prop driven water bombers.

McDonnell Douglas MD-87  Most recently converted to water bombers by Erickson Aero Tanker.

Mil Mi-8  The most produced helicopters, used as water bombers throughout the world.

Mil Mi-17  Transport helicopters used around the world as water bombers.

Mil Mi-26  Largest helicopter water bombers in the world.

Rockwell OV-10 Bronco Command and control aircraft used to guide water bombers.

Lockheed P2V Neptune "Firestar" Water bombers that deliver retardants at rates of up to 700 gallons per second.

Lockheed P-3 Orion The only current U.S. Navy land based anti-submarine aircraft used as water bombers.

Consolidated PBY Catalina Versatile World War II veteran aircraft converted for use as water bombers.

Consolidated PB4Y Privateer U. S. Navy single tail version of the B-24 used as water bombers.

Grumman S-2 Tracker Most numerous water bombers used by California Department of Forestry.

Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane Heavy lift helicopters set altitude record for height and weight, very much used today as water bombers.

Sikorsky S-70 Firehawk Army front line helicopters converted for use as water bombers.



Bombardier Q400 twin turboprop water bombing

Bombardier Q400 Dash 8 To date two aircraft have been configured as water bombers to hold 2,640 gallons of water or retardants. When not used as water bombers, in just over 2 1/2 hours, the aircraft can be converted to accommodate up to 78 passenger seats or carry up to 19,000 lbs of cargo.

Bell UH-1 Huey: Primary utility helicopters used during Vietnam, dedicated water bombers since 1981.

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