The Croatian Air Force and Air Defence (Hrvatsko Ratno Zrakoplovstvo i Protuzračna Obrana) is very happy with their Air Tractor AT-802 Fire Bosses. By enrolling them into active patrols of fire risky areas they have proven to prevent worse.
An illustration of the effectiveness of the new working method – let the Air Tractors patrol with the heavier Canadair CL-415s on stand-by – presented itself on 3 August 2015. Scouting the area around Omis in the Split-Dalmatia area an Air Tractor pilot located a starting fire, started engaging it and requested immediate reinforcements which came in the form of two Canadairs. Moreover, a Croatian Air Force Mi-8MTV flew additional fire crews into the area.
In order to react faster the Croatians have put a single Canadair on stand-by in Dubrovnik since 22 July 2015, to help fighting fighters in the south of the country.
During the last five days the Air Tractors flew 13 patrol missions, locating nine wild fires. The Croatian Air Force began their own fire-fighting training in December 2014, at the 93. Air Force and Air Defence Base in Zemunik on a single Air Tractor AT-802 Fire Boss two-seater. Before that Spain provided the training.
The Fire Squadron (PPE) of the Croatian Air Force and Air Defence has a total of six Canadair CL-415s and 6 Air Tractor AT-802Fs (5 single-seaters, 1 two-seat).
Source: Croatian Ministry of Defence
Featured image: Croatian AT-802 Fire Bosses provide essential fire-fighting patrols in Croatian skies (Image © HRZ i PZO)