Location: Santiago De La Ribera, Murcia Spain
Company: NITROFIREX S.L.
Profession: Retired Air Force / Commercial pilot.
Number of times previously entering contest: 2
Inspired by: Disruptive Drone Technological Solutions to Develop Safe Night Forest Fire Fighting Capability And Properly Combat Climate Change And CO2 Emissions
To whom it may concern:
Watching this devastating fires that destroy worldwide forests every year, its harmful effects on societies and natural heritage, and the impotence of fire fighting means to combat them, it is necessary to emphasize that we are employing obsolete weapons against this every day stronger adversary and we have to accept that we are losing the battle, the reality is that fires are more frequent and more voracious every day.
For that or we integrate modern available technologies to develop the operational capability of discharge more quantity of extinguish agent in less time over de forest fire, be able to make it at night, when the fire is weakest, and make it at safer, faster and cheaper way than current aerial means or, all around the world, the forest will burn away irretrievably.
So we share the information of NitroFirex project since we think we fight in the same side against the same enemy and also because we firmly believe that with the available technologies, the drones can carry out fire-fighting operations in addition to detection and prevention and that there are advanced manned/unmanned aeronautical technological solutions and disruptive resilience approaches to develop 'fast-attack strategies' and “night aerial forest fire fighting capability” and greatly improve the combat against the catastrophic forest fires that are devastating, California, U.S., Canada, Australia and the whole world.
We hope that the present information will be of interest of you.
It is time for the drone´s innovativeness to offer to the worldwide hardworking and risky fire fighters airmen a “specific drone” able to extinguish forest fires (initially only at night because regulations) and make their work safer, easier, operationally faster and more effective and so try to avoid so much disaster.
We send extensive information about our innovative, ambitious and unfortunately every day more and more necessary NitroFirex project in order to develop the night aerial forest fire fighting operational capability with a drone specifically designed for it since the NitroFirex´s purposes and objectives are the same ones as those combating climate change, CO2 emissions and fighting forest fires, in the most, safe, effective and efficient possible way.
In another order of things, the 23th September of 2019, the U.N. website (www.un.org) issue the following press release: As Wildfires, Heatwaves Sweep Globe, Urgent Action Key to Stopping Alarming Rate of Deforestation, Secretary-General Warns at Alliance for Rainforests Event (https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sgsm19755.doc.htm) in which the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, during the U.N. CLIMATE ACTION SUMMIT, among other statements, he claimed that: “As the ferocity of this summer’s wildfires and heatwaves shows, we need to protect and grow our forests now before fires consume our future” in the same way all of us should be fully agree with the motto of the summit that: “It Is Time To Come With A Plan”.
Likewise and according to a article published August 5th 2019 by the University of East Anglia (Norwich, Uk) (https://phys.org/news/2019-08-wildfires-carbon-centuries-millennia.html), “In an average year, wildfires around the world burn an area equivalent to the size of India and emit more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than global road, rail, shipping and air transport combined”.
So if we really want to combat the climate change reducing the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere it is more coherent and logical, in the first instance, to properly fight against forest fires (rather than change, for example, the propulsion systems of every car, train, ship and airplane in the world) more effectively and efficiently than is currently done by providing available technological means and at the same time save forests, buildings, goods and citizens and hardworking air/ground fire-fighters lives.
In addition, too often through the media It is possible to read news like these: Wildfires today MAPPED: The staggering extent of wildfires raging across the globe (https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1162523/Wildfires-today-map-containment-arctic-Siberia-Russia-USA-Oregon-Spain) in which is mentioned how: “WILDFIRES are raging across the globe, hitting parts of the Arctic, Russia, Canada, the USA and Mediterranean countries”.
So we ask our self, over and over again, whether we are really applying all available technological aerial means to properly combat forest fires or not.
Regrettably we always answer ourself that there’s still plenty of work to be done in the fight against forest fires whether we truly want to have the capacity to avoid or minimize in the future this environmental disasters, with their adverse social, ecological, economical and legal consequences.
In our point of view we must concentrate our efforts on improving the initial air attack and night aerial operational capability of the fire fighting aerial means in which very few high-tech improvements have been accomplished in the last 70 years.
We are aware of the concern that forest fires generate all around the world and the enormous human and material losses they cause and also that the battle against this big problem must be carried out with all available scientific and high-tech sources.
So, we would like to put in your knowledge our innovative-patented “drone” for extinguishing forests fires “at night” because we consider that it is the, safest, fastest, cheapest and flexible way to truly improve the operational capability of the large amount of aerial means, planes and helicopters, employed in this aerial job all around the world.
In the middle of the 21st century it does not make sense that when the forest fire is weaker because normally the temperature, wind and turbulence decrease and the humidity increases, the aerial means have to return to their bases because of their inability to operate at night.
This capability only can be accomplished developing a specifically designed manned / unmanned aerial system, able to take benefit of both forms of aviation.
Taking from manned aviation the capability to transport big quantity of useful liquid pay load in a short time to the operation area and from unmanned aviation a “specific drone” able to transport this liquid pay load from the manned aircraft to a programmed drop point, over the flames where the liquid is sprayed, being able to performing it at night, in environments that are very dangerous, really difficult or even impossible to execute with a manned aircraft.
To this specific-type patented NitroFirex drone we call AGC (Autonomous Glider Container) and how you can see in the attached video this are released, in sequence, in a row, by the rear ramp of medium or heavy transport planes, or from medium or heavy helicopters, one at a time (hanging like a bucket-Bamby) and at a save distance and altitude away of the flames.
These AGCs with a liquid payload of 2.500 (±250) litres, each one, are directed autonomously to the fire (GNSS, Infrared, Inertial or even Laser Designation) where they drops their cargo safely, accurately and in sequence. Once empty, AGCs are recovered, like an unfilled drone, flying to the base of operation of the plane or helicopter for its quick re-use. (See YouTube video: Nitrofirex Concept 3 min video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvieBsd4dgY).
In view of the above and considering the possibility of manage fleets of planes or helicopters operating at night in accordance with the NitroFirex approach, as a complement to the current daytime aerial means, it is possible to have a “non stop aerial forest fire fighting” capability, without the need to make any special modification to the planes or in the case of helicopters the AGCs of NitroFirex are hanging like a bucket-Bamby.
For example, one could consider an operation of a C-130H Hercules with a cargo capacity of 8 full AGCs (assuming wartime payload) each AGC would be 2,750 litres of useful extinguish agent, which means that the dropping capacity of a single flight of a C-130 would be of 22,000 litres, approximately equivalent to 4 drops of the Canadair CL-215/415. At a distance of 120 km (65 nm) between the plane airport and the forest fire zone an C-130 can perform 10 flights in one night dropping 8 AGCs each flight, being able to drop a total of 220.000 litres of extinguish agents in one 10 hours night operations.
If we consider medium/heavy helicopters operating with hanging AGCs, the dropping capacity will be, “at least”, the same that a if operate with bucket-Bamby but without risk for the crew and aircraft since the release of the AGCs are performed at safe distance and altitude well away from them flames and without the need to reload the bucket-Bamby.
Another “high capacity” possibility is consider the operation of a C-17, in this case the figures will be, 24 AGCs by fly with 2.720 litres of useful extinguish agent each one, which means a 65.280 drops litres by fly and 456.960 drops litres during one 10 hours night (7 flights at 120 km).
That it is worth operating forest fires with LAT (Large Air Tanker) or a VLAT (Very Large Air Tanker) during the day if at night the fire will go on progressing without control?
The biggest shortcoming of fire fighting aerial means is their lack of night operation capability and the efforts of the involved institutions, responsible agencies, as well as the forest fires operators companies and aeronautical corporations must be oriented to solve this lack.
Given the seriousness of the problem it is of the utmost importance that the forest fires fighting aerial means develop the capability to operate all around the clock, in a non-stop fighting effort (H-24 task).
In NitroFirex we think that in now days it does not make sense to expose crew’s lives and expensive aircrafts in a very risky night operation when, with the available technologies, such operation can be performed with greater safety and economy by unmanned aerial vehicles designed specifically for such purpose.
The big fires, the destructive ones are those that cannot be controlled during the first day, then last one-day, one-night and the next mornings are out of control. Definitely the priority should be to progress to the “first night” aerial forest fire fighting operational capability in order to have the blaze under control at the first dawn and this is the NitroFirex´s main objective.
This operational capability only can be achieved by the development of an innovative “specific-type” drone like the already worldwide patented by NitroFirex, U.S. (Nº: US 7,690,438 B2), Canada (Nº: 2594783), Australia, (Nº: 2006209377), and Europe (PCT/IB2006/000122). You can check this link to get a proper overview of our project (www.nitrofirex.com).
As confirmation of the viability of the drone and operational concept patented by NitroFirex years ago, you can watch in You Tube the next videos: DARPA and AIRBUS imitate, with public funds, an idea patented by Nitrofirex, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rx2CP_6E9Y) (This video is made with the key sequences of the Nitrofirex Concept 3 min vide video published in 2012 and the YouTube videos published by Airbus in 2017: Airbus launches its Future Air Power vision (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCL1e1MJtSw&feature=youtu.be&t=70) and by DARPA in 2015: DARPA Gremlins to Launch & Recover Drones from Air Force C-130s (https://youtu.be/df__CjHECws?t=6).
Recently the initial Airbus Future Air Power project has become the European NGWS/FCAS (New Generation Weapons Systems / Future Combat Air System) project with the participation of different countries and companies. One of the components of this project is the Remote Carriers (https://defpost.com/airbus-mbda-to-jointly-develop-demonstrators-for-fcas-remote-carriers/).
The so-called "Remote Carriers" (RC) of the NGWS/FCAS project are fully comparable to the "Autonomous Glider Container" (AGC) patented by NitroFirex more than ten years ago, the only difference is that some are loaded with weapons and others with extinguishing agent, but the technologies to be integrated and the operational concept are exactly the same, the Remote Carriers unload hundreds of kilos of weaponry over a military target and the AGCs thousands of litres of extinguishing agent are unloaded over the flames of a forest fire, among other possible operational applications of the AGC,s of NitroFirex.
The technologies and protocols of safety, control, navigation, coordination, data-link and communication to be integrated in the development of the Remote Carriers are just the same as those required by the NitroFirex AGCs. Using an automotive simile, one is a van and the other is a sports car, but both are driving on the same road, with the same Highway Code and the same rules of safety, navigation, coordination and control.
The only difference is in the aerodynamic design of each one of the drones, since the one for military use must be designed to transport, at high speed, hundreds of kilos of armament to hundreds of kilometres away from its release from the launcher plane to the target and the one for forest fire fighting use must be optimized to transport, at low speed, thousands of litres of extinguish agent at tens of kilometres away from its release until the drops over the flames.
As you can check the European NGWS/FCAS program, with its Remote Carriers, and DARPA with its Gremlins program, assigned to be developed by Boeing and General Atomics, are both developing the operational concept patented by NitroFirex but only for military applications.
The development of "dual technologies" that can be developed both for military and civilian applications is a social and industrial demand. If the NitroFirex patent concept can be developed for military purposes, it can be developed for this very real and very necessary civilian applications like night aerial forest fire fighting (dropping extinguish agent), performing it in a safer and cheaper way than today.
Our lawyers have been in contact with Airbus and DARPA for a long time in order to defend our intellectual property and with the purpose of joining efforts and objectives, without any results so far.
All this is particularly incoherent considering that the above mentioned aeronautical companies can provide the military transport aircraft and medium/heavy helicopters needed for the innovative operation proposed by NitroFirex, being this contribution the most expensive part of the project.
Therefore, bearing in mind the high-tech power that those companies/agency represents, it is difficult to justify within the society, the media and the decision makers that the idea patented by NitroFirex years ago for civilian applications is only developed for strictly military purposes.
Finally e would like to make some reflections about the technological evolution of the forest fire fighting aerial means during the last decades.
In our opinion the debate should not be whether LAT or VLAT, plane or helicopter, scooper or conventional plane, direct or indirect water drops. The debate should be whether, in the 21st century, we are using the appropriate hi-tech means to properly fight forest fires from the air or not.
More Than 50 years ago a U.S. astronaut stepped on the moon, for more than eight years the unmanned vehicle Curiosity has been riding around on Mars surface, but here on earth our forests still burn away at night only because we have not been able to integrate already existing technologies.
Unmanned combat aircrafts UCAV can perform arrested landings on aircraft carriers, is planed in few time to carry out unmanned in-flight refuelling and operate “unmanned loyal wingman” together with a maned fighter but no aeronautical company has bothered to develop a high capacity manned / unmanned aerial system capable of reduce substantially reaction time and perform extinguishing forest fires at night
If we compare it to all other sectors of aviation where the innovations have been really significant during the last seventy years, paradoxically in the sector of aerial fire fighting no modern aeronautic tools have been implemented up to now.
We are using techniques, and procedures developed almost 70 years ago in a very risky, very low altitude, only daytime operations with usually old and/or slow aircrafts and every day it is clearer that these methods are insufficient to effectively combat the destructive fires that, due to climate change, are devastating worldwide forests.
With the support of the European Space Agency (ESA) we are just finishing a small concept demonstrator able to drop in flight several dozen of litres demonstrating the ability of a drone to suddenly discharge a quantity of liquid that represents a significant percentage of its Maximum Take Off Weight, MTOW (50 to 80%), being able to control the abrupt change of C of G.
Our next step is to develop a pre-commercial demonstrator in the range of one to two-three thousand litters of useful liquid dropping capacity maintaining the same percentage of weight loss of his MTOW that the small concept demonstrator, being dropped from a helicopter hanging like a Bucket-bamby.
Different aerospace companies, organizations, institutions, policy makers in in all the countries where NitroFirex is patented, are aware of our project and his economical and technological necessities but, although they recognize its interest and urgent need, so far we have not received more economical support than the ESA for our small concept demonstrator.
Due to the countless bush fires that took place in the 2019-2020 austral summer season in Australia, we sent the information of our project to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster & Emergency Management Mr David Littleproud, to the Minister for Defence Mrs Linda Reynolds and to the General Manager of the National Aerial Fire fighting Centre Mr Richard Alder, among others, and in January 2020, in view of the dramatic nature of the situation, I allow myself, as president of NitroFirex, to send an email to president Morrison in which I yield to their government and their country Australia the patents that the company has for the development of a drone capable of extinguishing forest fires at night from the air.
The objective was that Australia could integrate in a few months the available technologies to develop fast-attack and night aerial forest fire fighting capacities, in a safe, effective and efficient way and to be the necessary complement of the aerial forest fire fighting daytime means, achieving in this way that the fight against the fires is a all around the clock operation.
So let them know about our project capabilities and possibilities and also that it must be assumed that to face with such a great problems, it is necessary big solutions and of course be ambitious and forward-looking and accept that courageous measures have to be taken, if we don't want that California and Australia fires are harbinger of planet’s future.
Afterwards in February 2020 we submitted to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements so that the Commission can evaluate the capacities and possibilities of the NitroFirex project to help to solve the great problem of the forest fires that are destroying their country´s forests.
In May 2020 it was reported in the press that a team of more than 35 members of Australian industry lead by Boeing Company has presented the first “Unmanned Loyal Wingman” aircraft to the Royal Australian Air Force. (https://www.uasvision.com/2020/05/06/boeing-rolls-out-first-loyal-wingman-unmanned-aircraft/) because that there is “a global market demand for highly capable but extremely affordable unmanned aircraft” and in February 2021 this drone has already made its first maiden test flight (https://www.defensenews.com/air/2021/03/02/australia-makes-another-order-for-boeing-made-loyal-wingman-drones-after-a-successful-first-flight/).
The aircraft, which uses artificial intelligence to “extend the capabilities of manned and unmanned platforms”, is the first to be designed, engineered and manufactured in Australia in more than 50 years.
So there are “extremely affordable unmanned” technologies and engineering expertise able to develop a system capable to accomplish a manned fighter aircraft / Unmanned Loyal Wingman combat skill then, then with same technologies and less industrial and economic effort, why cannot be integrated this know-hows to develop a manned/unmanned night aerial forest fire suppression system and thus fill the empty niche market globally?
Correspondingly, in light of this summer's catastrophic wildfires in California, and in view of the dramatic nature of the situation, I allow myself, as president of NitroFirex, to make available to Governor Gavin Newsom and to the California State the patents that the company has for the development of a drone capable of extinguishing forest fires at night from the air.
As in the case of Australia the purpose is that U.S. aeronautical industry can integrate in a few months the existing know-hows to develop quick reaction and night aerial forest fires fighting skills, in a safer, more effective and efficient way than actual aerial means.
It is difficult to understand why government leaders, responsible institutions or big aeronautical companies have not shown interest in applying modern available technologies to improve the safety, the operational efficacy and economical efficiency of forest fire extinguishing aerial means. Initially by developing the manned/unmanned night operation capability, subsequently when the regulation allows it, manned/unmanned daytime operation and finally be able to operate on “airborne alert” with NitroFirex AGCs in order to reduce to a minimum the time between the forest fire detection and the aerial extinguishing action. After years fighting to go ahead with the NitroFirex project I still don't know the answer.
An indispensable, pioneer and urgent project such as the one we are proposing can only be achieved with institutional, academic, scientific and aeronautical industry with high-tech innovation capacity but also with the ability to forward-looking and take care of the future as your state and country have.
We know, of course, that our approach is ambitious and innovative and if you compare our project with the development of a drone of several tens of kilos of course our project is very ambitious, but if you compare it with the human, economical and ecological losses involved in forest fires, climate change and CO2 emissions all around the globe the investment is ridiculous.
we also know that our project is each day more and more necessary and that it is technically available for that, sooner or later, governments and responsible agencies will have to take action and will require to the academic institutions and to the aeronautical industry high-tech solutions to alleviate such a catastrophic ecological situation.
Our concept represents a new global market niche; therefore the first company, institution or country to face its development will acquire a technological and commercial advantage over any other possible competitor.
As we already mentioned I think we fight in the same side against the same enemy, for that reason I believe that we must combine efforts and synergies in order to achieve the fast track and night aerial forests fire-fighting capability as soon as possible and try to reduce the CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in a cheaper and faster way than other more ambitious, expensive and long-term projects (change the engines of all cars/planes/boats/trains in the world) and at the same time conserve our grandchildren's forests.
We apologize for the length of this paper but taking into account the importance and urgency of properly fight against, climate change, forest fires and CO2 emissions I did not want to leave any aspect untouched.
Finally I´d like to emphasize that the reason for which we are sending all the above information is our need to divulge our project in order to obtain political backing, technology partners and equity financial to face our next step of developing the pre-commercial concept demonstrator and the entire NitroFirex project.
The final objective is to develop the disruptive, pioneering, and unhappily every day more indispensable NitroFirex project to properly combat the climate change, the CO2 emissions and the forest fires, saving our natural heritage and at the same time to be world leader in the development of drones of the “specific” category.
Thank you very much for your time and we feel indeed very unhappy about the death of brave fire fighters airmen in the line of duty every year as well about catastrophic fires that have ravage worldwide countries every summer.
Do not hesitate to contact me for any further information that you required.
I wish your country all the best in the fight against forest fires, my best regards,
Luis M Bordallo
President / Founder
00 34 606 440 846
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