Croatia Bolsters Wildfire Defense with DHC-515 Firefighting Aircraft

A DHC-515 firefighting aircraft drops a water load.
Photo Credit: De Havilland Canada

Croatia has taken a significant step in strengthening its firefighting capabilities with the acquisition of two next-generation DHC-515 Firefighter aircraft.

This government-to-government (G2G) contract was facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Enhanced Aerial Firefighting for Croatia

The DHC-515 Firefighter is manufactured by De Havilland Canada (DHC). This variant builds upon the success of the renowned Canadair CL-215 and CL-415 firefighting aircraft.

It boasts extended lifespan, exceptional ruggedness, and embodies the excellence of Canadian aerospace engineering.

Addressing Growing Wildfire Threats

Across Europe and Canada, including Croatia, increasingly hot and extended summers have fueled severe wildfire seasons. This new acquisition will bolster Croatia’s firefighting program by a third, adding to their existing fleet of six CL-415 aircraft.

This crucial investment by the Croatian government and the European Union strengthens Croatia’s emergency response capacity.

These Canadian-made waterbombers will play a vital role in protecting Croatia’s citizens and historical sites.

Canada’s Commitment

CCC, Canada’s G2G contracting agency, and Export Development Canada, its export credit agency, are instrumental in supporting the DHC-515 Firefighter program.

For over 75 years, CCC has facilitated successful commercial relationships between Canadian companies and foreign governments.

G2G contracts signed with CCC hold the legal weight of the Government of Canada and guarantee contract performance.

A DHC-515 firefighting aircraft drops a water load.
Photo Credit: De Havilland Canada

DHC-515 Firefighter: Key Advantages

  • Addresses the growing demand for firefighting aircraft due to climate change.
  • Over 50% of the global fleet of previous iterations of the DHC-515 Firefighter are operated by EU member states.
  • Delivers the highest volume of water per day (nearly 700,000 liters) to the fire zone. This surpasses its closest competitor by more than double.
  • Refills tanks in just 12 seconds from freshwater or saltwater sources, including rivers, lakes, and oceans. In contrast, land-based aircraft require a return to airports after each drop.

DHC-515 Firefighter Specs

Here’s a rundown on some key DHC-515 Firefighter specifications:

Amphibious: This unique capability allows the DHC-515 to refill its water tanks from freshwater lakes, rivers, or even oceans in just 12 seconds. This maximizes firefighting efficiency compared to land-based aircraft that require returning to airports.

Water Capacity: A capacity of nearly 700,000 liters (1,850 US gallons) per day. The DHC-515 delivers the highest volume of water on the market, more than double its closest competitor.

Performance: The DHC-515 boasts a maximum cruise speed of 346 km/h (187 knots). It has a ferry range of 2,333 km (1,260 nautical miles), calculated with maximum fuel. This performance capability allowing it to reach distant fires quickly.

Durability: The DHC-515 inherits the rugged construction and extended lifespan of the CL-215 and CL-415, guaranteeing reliable performance in harsh firefighting conditions.

Statements from Key Figures

Diane Montambault, CCC Vice-President, Contract Management and Operations: “Canada is proud to help Croatia’s Ministry of the Interior combat wildfires with these next-generation firefighting aircraft.”

“We are committed to providing practical solutions to address wildfires that threaten Croatian citizens and historical sites.”

Davor Božinović, Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior: “Collaboration between Croatia, Canada, and the European Commission has positioned Croatia as one of the first EU member states to acquire these new DHC-515 aircraft.”

“This strengthens firefighting capacities across the EU and demonstrates the effectiveness of combined efforts at national, European, and global levels.”

Jessica Blitt, Canadian Ambassador to Croatia: “The EU and Croatia are strategic partners and close allies.”

“Canada’s commitment to help mitigate climate change includes facilitating the acquisition of these critical De Havilland aircraft. We commend Croatia’s leadership in regional wildfire combat.”

Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management: “The EU has been working to scale up firefighting capacities in Europe. We congratulate Croatia on securing these first planes, which will be part of a new generation of European aerial firefighting resources.”

“We thank Canada for facilitating these agreements and De Havilland Canada for resuming production of these essential specialized aircraft.”

Neil Sweeney, De Havilland Canada Vice-President, Corporate Affairs: “De Havilland Canada is proud to support the Croatian Ministry of Interior and Air Force in protecting their communities and natural resources.”

“These new DHC-515 aircraft will provide valuable assets for battling wildfires in Croatia.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 5 Min Read
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