The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has acquired four Bombardier 415 amphibious aircraft for $120m to replace part of its aging aerial firefighting fleet.

The 415 firefighter aircraft can perform nine drops within an hour and deliver 14,589gal of fire suppressant in an average mission of 6nm from water to fire, up to a speed of 224mph.

Bombardier Aerospace specialised and amphibious aircraft and military aviation training president Michel Bourgeois said the Bombardier 415 aircraft had consistently demonstrated its unique firefighting capabilities by operating effectively in rugged and demanding conditions around the world.

“With a large territory to cover and limited airport access in remote areas, the Bombardier 415 aircraft, with its water-scooping capability, is the most productive and reliable aviation tool for combating forest fires in Newfoundland and Labrador’s rugged lake-rich terrain,” he said.

Newfoundland and Labrador Acting Minister of Transportation Tom Marshall said the Bombardier 415 would replace some of the aging aircraft in their existing fleet with state-of-the-art, modern aircraft that would enhance their forest fire-suppression capabilities.

The $120m contract includes aircraft modifications, spare parts provisioning, training and technical support.

Delivery will begin in the second quarter of 2010 and will continue to 2011.