Tangent Link Brings the Global Aerial Firefighting Community to the New Security Civil Base in Nîmes

The Aerial Firefighting Europe conference and exhibition took place at Nîmes-Alès-Camargue-Cévennes Airport with a backdrop of over 30 aircraft.  With over 600 attendees from 30 countries, this year’s AFF Europe 2017 is one of Tangent Link’s most successful events to date.  

The airport is the now home to the Base Aérienne Sécurité Civile (BASC) with a fleet of 12 Canadair CL-415s, nine S-2F Trackers, three Beech 200 King Airs and two Bombardier Dash-8 Q400s.  It is all part of the civil protection force, aimed at forming a mass attack on wildfires that are now such a regular occurrence in the southern reaches of Europe. The event has been officially opened by Mayor of Nîmes, Mr Jean-Paul Fournier.

Modernisation is a top requirement for the fleet, with the S-2F Trackers that support the GAAR (Quet Aérien Armé) patrol expecting to be retired by 2021.  During the summer, these very capable turboprop aircraft usually depart Nîmes in the early afternoon, as the ground is heating up, to embark on three hour GAARs.  It means that when there is a requirement, the S-2s can drop their 3.5 tonnes of retardant almost immediately – in fighter terms they would be flying a combat air patrol (CAP). Many of the exhibitors at the conference are showing off their capabilities to replace the S-2s, with a Last and Final Offer (LAFO) being submitted imminently.

The AFF Europe 2017 exhibition has attracted 65 companies from all over the world, displaying the latest equipment on the market to help with the modernisation of AFF fleets.  It includes a large variety of drones, tanker capabilities, helicopters, Intelligence Surveillance and Recce (ISR) assets and other equipment which could help to stop wildfires in their tracks.



Alan Warnes

Freelance Journalist