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  • Writer's pictureThe Pulse

Simplex Offers Blackhawk Solutions

A preview of a Blackhawk model used for aerial firefighting
Blackhawk Helicopter

Simplex Aerospace is the world’s leading developer of rotorcraft aerial firefighting systems with over 30 models operating worldwide today. Mark Zimmerman, President and CEO of Simplex Aerospace told Alan Warnes, “our proven development capability provides battle tested low risk solutions for aerial suppression equipment.”

In the last four years alone, Simplex has developed five new rotorcraft Fire Attack systems for world markets:

  • 1000-gallon Fire Attack system with a retractable hover pump and a SkyCannon for the Chinese-made AC313

  • 300-gallon Fire Attack system for the Kawasaki BK117 for the Japanese market

  • 2800-gallon Internal mounted Fire Attack systems for the CH-47 Chinook

  • 520-gallon Fire Attack system for the Korean Aerospace Surion helicopter for the Korean market

  • 850-gallon Internal mounted Fire Attack system for the Blackhawk helicopter. A 1000-gallon variant is in the process as well.

Zimmerman continued, “we offer Blackhawk operators three aerial firefighting system options including a 1,000-gallon composite external mounted system, which will utilize a substantially lower cost aircraft lift kit, an 850-gallon composite internally mounted system, and a 1000-gallon composite internally mounted systems. Simplex and PJ Helicopters introduced the 850 gallon internally mounted system at the AFFNA18. The internally mounted system requires less than 15 minutes to install and remove in the aft cabin.

“There seems to be confusion in the industry regarding the current 1,000 gallon Firehawk externally mounted belly tank in use by LA County and the upcoming acquisition of new aircraft by some California agencies.

“The existing Firehawk tank currently operated by LA County was developed by Aero Union in the mid-to-late 1990s and the related retractable hover pump was developed by Aero Union in the early 2000’s. Simplex purchased the Firehawk intellectual property in 2012, when Aero Union ceased operations.”

After acquiring the Aero Union Firehawk tank and retractable hover pump intellectual property in 2012, Simplex has made a number of improvements to the former Aero Union products and has been providing support for the existing fleet.


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