Fire departments nationwide have seen impressive transformations as technology and tools have better adapted to modern society’s needs and problems. Now, however, wildfires become more intense due to human-induced climate change. As a result, innovative engineers plan to turn a Boeing 757 passenger plane into one massive wildfire-fighting tanker.
According to Jalopnik, passenger planes that have reached their less-than-golden years typically see more monotonous retirements. They usually become recycled, scrapped, or repurposed into something else entirely. However, this particular aircraft, measuring 155 feet long, will reach new heights very soon. In a few short years, the craft will join forces with other firefighting crews and equipment on behalf of the United States Forest.
By the time this innovative group of engineers, employed by ST Engineering, finish work on the U.S. Forest Service’s flying supertanker, the craft will become the largest flying firefighting machine on the planet. The engineers working on the aircraft plan to gut the interior of the plane, removing the passenger seats. Afterward, and they’ll seal all of its windows. In the end, the outlet stated the plane will boast two large tanks within. Both will reportedly be capable of holding an impressive 7,000 gallons of water, or other fire retardant liquid.
Afterward, the renovated 757 will boast two sets of doors, one to the front and one to the rear. These will allow pilots to easily drop its liquid contents upon scores of forest fires.
Once complete, the brand new flying supertanker will join American company Galactic Holdings’ current fleet of firefighting machines.
Boeing 757 to Replace Several Retired Firefighting Supertankers
Galactic Holdings’ in-progress addition will reportedly replace a line of more outdated flying supertankers. As per the outlet, the Boeing 757, boasting a catchier name, the Boeing757P2T, should see completion in 2024. And with it, the engineering company plans to make the latest model more fuel efficient than earlier firefighting aircrafts.
The company also stated the latest flying supertanker will be more easily “deployed to remote locations for firefighting missions.”
Earlier flying firefighting crafts include a fleet of DC-10 flying supertankers. As per the outlet, the DC-10s have been in service since 2006, with the capability of dropping 9,400 gallons of fire retardant across a mile-long stretch in just eight seconds.
Further, of the company’s ongoing work upon the Boeing 757, ST Engineering’s president of commercial aerospace, Jeffrey Lam, said, “In addition to breathing new life into an otherwise retired aircraft, we are glad…to develop innovative solutions to be used in the crucial fight against forest and wildfires that are increasing in numbers in various hotspots across the world.”
The project should also see completion just in time for a massive firestorm that scientists believe could strike pretty soon.
The Boeing757P2T comes on the heels of three Boeing 747 planes previously deployed to fight fires. Unfortunately, the last reached retirement just last year.