Giant Water Bomber

Blast from the past: 2015.

Despite no official deal in place with the B.C. government, one of the largest air water tankers in the world took a test dip in Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, B.C. to ready for action. It operated in 2015.


The last remaining Martin Mars water bomber is “coming out of retirement” to fight the wildfires burning up B.C. this summer, Forests Minster Steve Thomson has confirmed.

About 195 fires are currently burning across the province, with dozens more fires popping up each day.

“Given the extraordinary fire situation this year, and recognizing that public safety is paramount, we need to look at every possible tool in our toolbox,” said Thomson in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The ministry confirmed earlier this week it was in negotiations to use the aging air tanker, but the deal was not confirmed publicly until yesterday

“Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’re entering into a one-month agreement to use the Martin Mars air tanker.”



General characteristics

  • Crew: four (with accommodations for a second relief crew)
  • Capacity: JRM Mars – 133 troops, or 84 litter patients and 25 attendants or 32,000 lb (15,000 kg) payload, including up to seven Willys MB jeeps
  • Water/foam load: Mars waterbomber – 60,000 lb (27,000 kg)
  • Length: 117 ft 3 in (35.74 m)
  • Wingspan: 200 ft 0 in (60.96 m)
  • Width: 13 ft 6 in (4.11 m) Hull beam
  • Height: 38 ft 5 in (11.71 m) afloat, 48 ft (15 m) beached
  • Hull draught: 5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
  • Wing area: 3,686 sq ft (342.4 m2)
  • Empty weight: 75,573 lb (34,279 kg)
  • Gross weight: 90,000 lb (40,823 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 165,000 lb (74,843 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: Hawaii Mars: 6,485 US gal (24,550 l; 5,400 imp gal) Philippine Mars: 13,200 US gal (50,000 l; 11,000 imp gal)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone 18-cylinder radial engines, 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) each
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Curtiss Electric, 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m) diameter variable-pitch propellers


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