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De Havilland Canada launches DHC-515 Firefighter


April 4, 2022  By Wings Staff

Final assembly of the DHC-515 Firefighter will take place in Calgary. (Photo: De Havilland Aircraft of Canada)

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada has launched its DHC-515 Firefighter, formerly known as the CL-515 program. De Havilland Canada acquired the Canadair CL program in 2016 and had been contemplating a return to production since 2019.

“After an extensive business and technical review, we are pleased to announce that we have launched the De Havilland DHC-515 Firefighter program, which will involve negotiating contracts with our European customers and ramping up for production,” said Brian Chafe, Chief Executive Officer, De Havilland Canada.

The DHC-515 Firefighter builds on the history of the Canadair CL-215 and CL-415 aircraft, which have served European and North American aerial firefighting fleets for more than 50 years. De Havilland explains important upgrades are being made to increase the functionality and effectiveness of the DHC-515 aircraft.

European customers have signed letters of intent to purchase 22 aircraft pending the result of government-to-government negotiations through the Government of Canada’s contracting agency, the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). De Havilland Canada expects first deliveries of the DHC-515 by the middle of the decade, with deliveries of aircraft 23 and beyond to begin at the end of the decade.

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The final assembly of the aircraft will take place in Calgary, Alberta, where work on the CL-215 and CL-415 aircraft currently takes place. It is anticipated that more than 500 people will need to be recruited over the coming years to successfully deliver this program.

“To bring the DHC-515 into production is important for not only our company, but countries around the world who rely on our aircraft to protect their people and forests,” said Chafe. “We understand the important role the previous aircraft have played in protecting people and property and as our climate continues to change and summers increase in both temperature and length, the DHC-515 will be an important tool for countries around the globe to use in putting out fires.”

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