Conair Firecat (1978)

The Conair Firecat is a fire-fighting aircraft developed in Canada in the 1970s by modifying military surplus Grumman S-2 Trackers. The modifications were developed by the maintenance arm of the Conair Group, which became a separate company called Cascade Aerospace.[

Grumman: S-2 Firecat

Role Fire-fighting aircraft
National origin Canada
Manufacturer Conair
Introduction 1978 (Firecat)
1988 (Turbo Firecat)
Retired Retired in Canada 2012
Status Active in France with Sécurité Civile (Turbo Firecat only)
Primary users Conair
Sécurité Civile
Number built 35
Developed from Grumman S-2 Tracker


Conair Firecat (1978)

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Conair Firecat (1978)

The Conair Firecat is a fire-fighting aircraft developed in Canada in the 1970s by modifying military surplus Grumman S-2 Trackers. The modifications were developed by the maintenance arm of the Conair Group, which became a separate company called Cascade Aerospace.[


The Firecats are retrofitted Grumman S-2 Trackers. Conair bought a large number of Trackers formerly operated by the Canadian Navy and a small number of ex-United States Navy aircraft as well.[2] The Trackers are modified for aerial firefighting as Firecats by raising the cabin floor by 20 cm (8 in) and fitting a 3,296-litre (870 U.S. gal) retardant tank where the torpedo bay is normally located. All superfluous military equipment is removed and the empty weight is almost 1,500 kg lower than a Tracker’s.[3] The first aircraft was modified in 1978.[3] Some examples have been re-engined with turboprop engines and are known as Turbo Firecats, these feature a larger tank and extra underwing fuel tanks; the Maximum Take Off Weight (MTOW) is increased by 680 kg (1,500 lb) to 12,480 kg (27,500 lb), while the lighter turbine engines also reduce the empty weight. The first Turbo Firecat was produced in 1988.[


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Grumman S-2 Firecat (1979)

Conair commenced Firecat operations in 1978.[4] Firecats and Turbo Firecats were previously in service with Conair and the Government of Saskatchewan in Canada and were also used by the Government of Ontario The Sécurité Civile organisation in France took delivery of 14 Firecats over a period of five years commencing in May 1982. It has had its examples further converted and is now standardized on the Turbo Firecat.[8] A total of 35 Firecat and Turbo Firecat conversions have been performed; four Firecats and three Turbo Firecats have crashed in France. As of 2019; a total of 8 Turbo Firecats remain in service for Sécurité Civile in France.


  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3,395 l (897 U.S. gal) of water, plus 173 l (46 U.S. gal) of foam concentrate
  • Length: 13.26 m (43 ft 6 in)
  • Wingspan: 22.12 m (72 ft 7 in)
  • Height: 5.05 m (16 ft 7 in)
  • Empty weight: 6,803 kg (15,000 lb)
  • Gross weight: 12,473 kg (27,500 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-67AF , 761 kW (1,220 hp)
  • Maximum speed: 407 km/h (253 mph, 220 kn)
  • Endurance: 5 hours 6 minutes

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Seven U.S. Navy squadrons flew the F11F-1: VF-21 and VF-33 in the Atlantic Fleet and VA-156 (redesignated VF-111 in January 1959), VF-24 (redesignated VF-211 in March 1959), VF-51, VF-121, and VF-191 in the Pacific Fleet.

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