Originally the CL-215T was to be a simple turboprop powered development of the piston powered CL-215. Canadair converted two aircraft in 1989 to act as development and technical demonstrator aircraft.
The first of these flew on June 8 that year. Retrofit kits for piston CL-215 aircraft to the new standard were offered, but Canadair elected not to continue with kits as the internal business case favoured new production over conversion and instead developed the CL-415.
After its acquisition of the business in late 2016 and based on feedback from current and prospective operators, Viking elected to offer an Enhanced Aerial Firefighter (EAF) option, building on the CL-215T conversion program by offering additional operator requested enhncements. Viking has acquired a number of CL-215 aircraft for conversion to this new CL-415EAF standard.
Both the CL-215T and CL-415EAF include winglets and finlets, higher operating weights, an increased capacity firebombing system and the addition of a foam injection system which all subsequently appeared on the CL-415
CL-215T vs CL-415
- A CL-215T carries around a 300lb lower payload than the CL-415 and does not have an EFIS flight deck
- The major visual difference is the CL215T has a 2 door bomb bay while the CL-415 has a 4 door bomb bay (which is better, is debated continually by the world wide operator base)
CL-415EAF vs CL-415
- A CL-415EAF will carry the same water capacity and performs similarly to a CL-415
- The major visual difference is the CL415EAF has a 2 door bomb bay while the CL-415 has a 4 door bomb bay
In addition to the turboprop upgrade other improvements with the CL-415EAF conversion now offered by Viking over the 415 include :
- Full modern Avionics package that would become the standard for any new production Aerial Firefighter
- Component modernization improvements to address all fleet obsolescence issues, setting the standard for any new production Aerial Firefighter
- Corrosion protection enhancements based on operator feedback
- Flight deck air-conditioning system
- Customized external paint scheme
- Humanitarian and relief options (e.g. stretcher rack, large cargo door, spray boom system)