ST Engineering today announced that its Commercial Aerospace business will design and convert an aerial firefighting platform based on the Boeing 757 aircraft for Galactic Holdings. ST Engineering will draw on its deep structural modification capabilities that have been used in converting passenger aircraft into freighters to develop this first-in-the-world Boeing 757 Passenger-to-Tanker (P2T) programme. The prototype is to be converted at one of the Group’s airframe maintenance and modification facilities in the U.S.
ST Engineering will undertake the full scope of the programme, from design and engineering to certification and conversion. The Group will also leverage its global network of MRO facilities to provide nose-to-tail aftermarket service and support to Galactic Holdings’ operations worldwide.
Darrin Henry, Managing Member of Galactic Holdings, said, “We chose to partner with ST Engineering in this firefighting programme as we are confident in its ability to deliver a green and highly-innovative firefighting solution that will help drive value for our investors. We have committed to deploying the first Boeing 75HP2T in 2024, and building a fleet after the award of the Supplementary Type Certificate. It is an advantage that we can also rely on ST Engineering for maintenance services for our future fleet.”
“We are excited to be working with Galactic Holdings in this new endeavour of repurposing passenger aircraft into flying fire trucks,” said Jeffrey Lam, President of Commercial Aerospace at ST Engineering. “In addition to breathing new life into otherwise retired aircraft, we are glad that we can tap our expertise in aircraft conversion 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 Boeing 757P2T, estimated to be completed in 2024, will have a capacity of up to 7,000 gallons of fire retardant, making it one of the largest aerial firefighting platforms available on the market when it enters service. The tanker will be equipped with a state-of-the-art dispensing system that helps to ensure high accuracy in the delivery of fire retardant. Compared to the current generation of firefighting platforms that are in service, the Boeing 757P2T is also more fuel efficient, and has the versatility to be deployed to remote locations for firefighting missions.