Israel’s Elbit Systems turns water into pellets, helping to extinguish fires during the night.
Israel’s Fire Fighting Squadron successfully tested Elbit Systems “HyDrop,” a patented innovation that puts water, foam or fire retardant into pellets to extinguish fires. The pellets can be dropped at high-altitudes, providing safer flying and preventing water-evaporation. This opens the door for fires to be fought not only in daylight, but also at night.
The field demonstration showed that high-altitude, high-precision aerial firefighting is possible using the new system. Two Air Tractor air crafts successfully “extinguished a burning field from a height of 500 feet, more than four times higher than the average altitude of a standard aeriel firefighting sortie,” according to Elbit.
Until now, fighting fires from above took place only at low altitudes in order to prevent the dropped liquids from evaporating, known as the “aerosol effect.” Due to safety concerns and Civil Aviation regulations, low-flying planes had to work in daylight. This limitation allowed fires to burn uncontrolled during nightfall.
Elbit’s bio-degradable liquid pellets are now certified for night-flight by Civil Aviation and deemed safe. The pellets contain no harmful residues, according to the company. The system is capable of producing up to 10 tons of pellets per hour.
Through use of a sophisticated computer system that evaluates aircraft velocity, altitude, GPS location, wind conditions and the weight and shape of the liquid pellets, drop points are accurately calculated to effectively extinguish fires.