Daher has become an industry member of the United Aerial Firefighters Association (UAFA), underscoring its support for the newly-formed advocacy group and becoming a voice for a community that utilises the company's Kodiak aircraft to support wilderness fire suppression missions.
“The UAFA's goals are fully aligned with those of Daher: enhancing the safety, operability and effectiveness of aircraft, especially in such challenging and unforgiving missions as combatting wildfires,” explains Paul Carelli, director of Kodiak flight operations and special missions. “We intend to be an active UAFA member, bringing our expertise as a multi-role aircraft manufacturer, while also benefitting from the feedback of those who are on the front lines of aerial firefighting.”
Kodiak aircraft have demonstrated their capabilities in fire suppression duties, with primary missions including spotting for firefighting crews and directing aerial tanker drops. The Kodiak is ideally suited for the ‘air attack’ function, as it can guide air tankers with verbal target descriptions and by physically leading them on the drop runs. With the single-engine turboprop-powered Kodiak's excellent STOL characteristics, it can deliver crews and supplies to length-limited and narrow backcountry strips.
One of the UAFA's founding members is Bridger Aerospace Group , which operates Kodiak 100s in its fleet as one of the United States' largest aerial firefighting companies. “We appreciate Daher's proactivity in joining UAFA and look forward to benefitting from its aircraft manufacturer's perspective as the association develops a strong and coordinated voice for the entire aerial firefighting community,” states Tim Sheehy, the CEO of Bridger Aerospace and UAFA board member.
Daher produces the Kodiak in two versions. The eight-10-seat Kodiak 100 Series III is capable of operating on uneven and unimproved runways or on water in the amphibious version and is equipped with Garmin's G1000 NXi avionics. The larger Kodiak 900 was introduced in 2022, featuring a fuselage length extension of 3.9 ft for more passenger room and cargo space, a cruise speed increase to 210 kts and a greater useful load while offering a maximum range of 1,129 nm.
To date, more than 320 Kodiaks have been delivered to customers and operators around the world. In addition to the Kodiak's support role in aerial firefighting, special mission applications for the aircraft include Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR); aerial mapping; air ambulance transportation; parachute operations; resource analysis; wildlife management/anti-poaching; disaster/humanitarian relief; and training. Throughout the United States, several state and federal agencies, in addition to private contractors, operate Kodiaks in support of wildland fire missions.