Black Hawk helicopters take to the skies for SA Country Fire Service

Black Hawk hovers for lift

Two Black Hawk helicopters will go online from 16 December 2021 for the Country Fire Service.

CFS Chief Officer Mark Jones said the two helicopters will boost the Service’s state-wide response.

“The CFS has utilised helicopter firebombing aircraft since 2006, and the Black Hawks are the next generation in this field,” Mr Jones said.

Fast facts:

  • Airborne within 5 minutes of dispatch call
  • Tank capacity of 4,500L each
  • Can refill, via a snorkel, in 35 seconds
  • Top firefighting speed of 230kph
  • Can fly for up to 2.5 hours without refuelling
  • Will operate primarily as a pair, but can be separated for major fires in different locations (if required)

“Our aircraft are key factors in helping to slow the speed of fires so our ground troops can safely get in and extinguish them.

“The speed of response and flexibility of the Black Hawks will provide greater capability for our other 25 aircraft across South Australia,” Mr Jones said.

Blackhawk dropThe Black Hawks, operated by South Australian company Aerotech Helicopters, will remain in Adelaide and be available for recall outside of their standard contract for firefighting if required.

Aerotech Managing Director Sam McCabe said, “We’re excited that we’ve been able to offer what we believe is a significant performance improvement for South Australia’s aerial firefighting capability through our two Black Hawk helicopters.

“They are a game changer because of their speed and reliability, and they can be deployed within minutes of a callout.

“By basing our fleet locally, we are available all year round and we’re creating jobs for South Australian pilots, engineers, ground crew and support staff,” Mr McCabe added.

The Black Hawks will be based in the Adelaide Hills and contracted to the CFS for 3+1+1 year contract for an 84-day period, with starting dates decided through a risk assessment process, and a call-when-needed option also available outside of the contracted periods for singular days of high risk.