Saab’s fourth aerial firefighting aircraft has touched down at Skavsta Airport, its home base, near Nykoping in Sweden.
Saab operated two aircraft in the summer of 2020 and participated in five firefighting missions. In January 2021, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) customer exercised a contractual option to extend the fleet to four AT-802F Fire Boss aerial firefighting aircraft.
“For the last few months we have been busy procuring aircraft and extending the organisation with pilots and maintenance personnel to be able to deliver the desired capability, thus strengthening Sweden’s civil defence,” says Ellen Molin, head of Saab’s business area Support and Services.
The AT-802F is an aerial firefighter aircraft capable of delivering up to 50,000 liters of water per hour. The ability to quickly get to remote sites and drop large amounts of water is crucial when assisting ground units in fighting forest fires. Based in Nykoping, the aircraft can reach southern Finland in two hours and Lulea in the far north of Sweden in three hours – but they can also be deployed to other sites depending on the risk of fires.
“The demand for this capability will probably rise in the upcoming years and we have to be able to face that. Due to climate change, forest fires risk causing even greater damage in the future. This combined with the fact that many countries in Northern Europe lack scooping aircraft, meant we saw the need for two additional firefighting aircraft,” says Petronella Norell, acting head of National Operations and Civil Protection Section at MSB.