Il-76 aircraft participate in fire suppression in Siberian Federal DistrictThree Il-76TD aircraft of EMERCOM, fitted with VAP-2 (air spray tank) participated in fire extinguishing on the territory of Siberian Federal District. Besides, there were other EMERCOM aircraft involved in suppression of fires (two Be-200, two Mi-8 helicopters and one Mi-26). A total of 55 discharges were carried out, dropping about 700,000 litres of water.
The firefighting was joined by crew of the Il-76 of the Russian Air Force military transport aviation, discharging about 100,000 litres of water. Flight personnel carried out sorties to the areas of major seats of fire.
Earlier pilots of military-transport aviation performed seven sorties to extinguish forest fires in Buryatia, where they discharged over 300,000 litres of water and eliminated a threat of fire spreading towards populated areas of Kizhinsk region.
Beyond that, military-transport aviation aircraft transported about 100 tons of essential equipment, items and food to the residents of the Republic of Khakassia.
Along with regular water special fire suppressants are used in fire extinguishing. At present EMERCOM uses retardant OS-5, ecologically safe powdery product, and foam agent PHOS CHEK WD-884, which is right inside VAP-2 before filling it with water.
Usage of retardant solutions and foam agents in fire extinguishing improves effectiveness of fire suppression, in comparison with regular water, by an average of 2,8 times. In addition it increases the area of watered line, improves reliability of fire seat suppression and decreases the number of required sorties.
An experimental model of the fire extinguishing equipment was designed by OJSC “Il” engineers way back in 1989, but then in it found no demand. Only in 1992 after two large fires ant military warehouses in areas near Yerevan and Vladivostok, people remembered VAPs.
The Il-76TD fitted with the first VAP unit with 31,000-liter capacity gained great reputation. Near Yerevan the main fire source was put out after just three aircraft runs. In that case water discharge was complicated not only by mountainous district, but also by lightning protection masts on the warehouse territory and explosions of ammunition.
From the results of testing the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation ordered five sets of equipment. During the next several years they were effectively used for extinguishing of natural and manmade fires in our country and abroad.
After the abnormal summer of 2010 the Government of the Russian Federation ordered to fit military transport aircraft, aircraft of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and EMERCOM with upgraded air spray tanks VAP-2. They are designed for extinguishing of forest fires from the Il-76MD.
Total weight of VAP-2 with fire suppressant is about 45 tons. The system consists of two cylindrical tanks with the capacity of 21,000 litres each, manufactured from aluminium alloy lists with 5 mm wall thickness.
The whole VAP-2 construction is attached to the cargo compartment floor with tie-down chains. For moving VAP-2 on the ground there is a detachable wheeled mover and a tow bar. Four people, using electric hoists on the aircraft ceiling, can load and tie down VAP inside an aircraft within 1.5–2 hours.
Charging of VAP is charged at aerodrome through hoses, connected to hydrants or fire systems. Charging time is up to 25 minutes.
For maximum efficiency discharge of fire-fighting liquid is carried out at extremely low altitudes of 50-100 m and takes 6-8 seconds.
As experts point out, together with high effectiveness this equipment possesses one unique characteristic — it can be installed on any of the Il-76M, Il-76T, Il-76MD, Il-76TD, Il-76MD-90A without any modifications made to the aircraft, which reduces time of preparation of rapid reaction forces in case of emergency. After dismantling of the fire extinguishing system the aircraft again can be used for their primary objectives.
In April, 2011 crew of military-transport aviation took additional training in order to participate in forest fire extinguishing on the Il-76 aircraft. On the territory of Seshcha air base (Bryansk oblast) instructor teams of Pskov, Taganrog, Tver and Orenburg air bases of military-transport aviation practiced their skills in forest fire extinguishing.
From that time forward the Il-76D aircraft in fire-fighting configuration have been successfully used in fire suppression works in Russia and abroad.