Fires: will the Seagle plane, successor to Canadair, be built near Saint-Nazaire?

Fires: will the Seagle plane, successor to Canadair, be built near Saint-Nazaire?

Roadfour hopes the first Seagle prototype will fly in 2025 ©Roadfour

Belgian start-up road four is looking for a place to set up the final assembly line for its airplane, the Seagle, introduced as the successor to the Canadair. Saint-Nazaire (Loire-Atlantique) he’s in a good place in the race… but the competition is fierce.

Dramatic news about mega fires this summer brought fire protection back into focus. Are France and Europe sufficiently equipped with modern means to combat this phenomenon, which seems to be increasing over the years? The start-up Roadfour spent four years designing a new water bomber model called the Seagull. Obviously want to to take over from the famous Canadair.

The fleet will be restored soon

Because for many, the North American bomber has had its day. The plane and especially its station wagon, equipped with an outdated and expensive to maintain pilot system, is closely monitored.

There are about a hundred of them, aged 20-30, living around the Mediterranean Sea. In 8 to 10 years, countries will have to renew and strengthen their fleet

David Pincet, responsible for institutional relations at Roadfour.

What does Seagle have more than Canadair? “It’s more modern and can carry twice as much water,” notes a Roadfour representative. The aircraft also boasts more precise and intuitive controls for reaching affected areas.

seagle Roadfour saint-nazaire canadair fire
The Seagle can carry twice as much water as the Canadair ©Roadfour

Saint-Nazaire, the “ideal region”…

All that remains is to find a city that can accommodate the final assembly line. Because, as David Pincet points out, “Roadfour is not an aircraft manufacturer, but a designer”. It’s about finding a place at 20,000 m2 of asphalt, 20,000 m2 hangar, nearby sea for testing, airstrips and aerospace industrial structures. Criteria that Saint-Nazaire fulfills. “It’s an ideal region,” confirms David Pincet.

Mayor David Samzun met with Belgian leaders last May. There is clearly a lot of interest in this possible installation and especially in the hiring of 40 to 50 engineers and 400 technicians that could result. “We’ve got everything we need,” he assures us, even as we consider the collaboration between Roadfour and Airbus. Especially since in France in its August 3 report on the fight against megafiresThe Senate proposes to “investigate the advisability of establishing a second civilian security air base for greater speed of mobilization of combat assets.” Why not on the Atlantic coast?


…but great competition

But it’s not that simple. The maritime city is not the only one, there are also Nîmes and Bordeaux. The government of Flanders also seems motivated to welcome the company to Ostend. Could a Belgian start-up choose its country?

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Roadfour opting for Saint-Nazaire, for example, to launch a study, requires a strong sign of commitment.

Especially since Ostend has no airlines. David Pincet met La Carene on Thursday 15 September. The selection should take place before the end of the year.

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