The purchase of the airplanes will be financed from the loan facility extended by Poland's Government to China's Government as part of the two governments' efforts to jointly undertake projects targeted at protection of the natural environment.
"China has shown considerable interest in the M18 airplane for several years now, as the type appears to meet the specific requirements and operating specifications for the intended missions," said PZL Mielec President Janusz Zakrecki. "Its 660 U.S.Gal. hopper renders the plane extremely efficient when working large crop and forest areas, where it can be applied in aerial crop dusting and spraying, seeding and fertilizing. The "fire bombing" capability, combined with cost-effective patrolling of areas of identified high fire hazard, position the plane as a valuable element of a total forest protection system."
The M18 airplane is powered by a 1000 SHP radial piston engine manufactured in Kalisz, Poland. It features a fixed (non-retractable) landing gear for operation from sod (unpaved) airstrips.
The M18 DROMADER holds 15 type certificates, including European Air Safety Agency (EASA), FAA, DOT Canada, and China.
The current contract calls for delivery of 15 M18B DROMADER airplanes to the requirement of the Chinese Province of Heilongjiang, where they will be applied in agricultural aerial application and fire-fighting operations. Fourteen of the airplanes represent the standard crop duster/fire fighting model, while one is a two-seater "BS" trainer configuration, offering both flight handling and mission-training capability (reduced-capacity hopper holds 500 kgs of fire-retardant for "water bombing"). The aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2008.
This contract is the first major sale of PZL Mielec's indigenous aircraft products to be finalized since the acquisition on March 16, 2007.
PZL Mielec is the largest fixed-wing aircraft manufacturer in Poland and cooperates with leaders in the international aviation business such as Boeing, Raytheon, Pratt & Whitney Canada, SAAB, manufacturing aerostructures on a sub-contracting basis. PZL makes airplanes of its own design: M28 SKYTRUCKTM and M28B BryzaTM, operated in passenger and cargo transport, paratroop and medevac roles, as well as in special configurations of maritime patrol, reconnaissance, search and rescue. The special-mission configured airplanes are in service with Poland's Navy Aviation, Airforce and Order Guard.
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