Black Hawk Fire Fighting Tank
Overview of Project
BHI² (Squared) Helicopters is working towards certification of a modular slide-in firefighting tank suitable for Black Hawk helicopters that are configured with a normal cargo door.
The 925-gallon tank can be installed in Black Hawk helicopters without cutting or modifying the aircraft; the existing tie-down points on the Black Hawk are used to secure the tank in the aircraft.
Leading Edge Composites desgined and developed the tank system from a concept. This project took serval years of devlopement, R&D, prototyping and manufactruring.
The 15-foot snorkel can pull up 925 gallons of water in roughly 50 seconds when only the pump loader is under the water. In instances where there are deeper water sources and the snorkel can be further submerged into the water, the tank can be filled in about 40 seconds.
Flight tests with the tank installed on research and development aircraft (H-60X) began in September 2017, and it was tested through the spring of 2018. The tank has been successfully tested at the aircraft’s Vne of 193 knots. The company is estimating the tank will be flown at a speed of 160 knots once certified, but potentially as high as 175 knots — which is the same speed as the bubble window is certified at.
Also tested, the hover drop capability of the tank at 200 feet.
The tank has also proven to be versatile with different modes of operation. One of the features that we’re very proud of with this tank is that we can drop water with the tank and in 10 minutes we can reconfigure — we can pull the snorkel off and hook up a long line and bucket.
Because it’s a progressive drop over about four seconds, there are no violent changes in the CG [central gravity].
While the floor limit in the Black Hawk is 8,400 pounds, it is estimated that the aircraft’s operating weight with a full tank of water will be around 8,200 pounds. For an article on this project from Air Attack Magazine 2019 Issue 4 click here.
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