CFS takes to the skies with the largest aerial firefighting fleet secured

CFS takes to the skies with the largest aerial firefighting fleet secured

The largest number of aircraft in the state’s history are here to protect South Australian’s this bushfire season. With five new aircraft added to the fleet, there will now be a total of 31 aircraft, significantly improving the State’s aerial capability ahead of the predicted hot & dry bushfire season.

The five new aircraft include:

  • 2 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) with a 3,000L capacity for water, foam, water enhancer or fire retardant.
  • 2 Blackhawk helicopters with a 4,500L capacity for water and foam.
  • 1 Air Observer Machine (Eurocopter B3 Squirrel) for air surveillance/ intelligence, strategic bucketing work, aerial incendiary ignition and firefighting crew transportation.

The Air Observer Machine will improve the agency's ability to gather strategic intelligence with its live stream capabilities, providing real-time observations of the fire ground to assist with the creation of warnings, fire predictions and strategic decision making.

Helicopter interior

Aircraft are particularly valuable in tackling fires burning in difficult to access terrain, and in reducing the ferocity and speed of fast-moving fires. The additional aircraft will also provide greater aerial firefighting support to ground crews, who are ultimately extinguish all fires.

The expanded fleet will make it easier for the CFS to manage how aircraft are deployed and where they are stationed on days of high fire danger, streamlining coordination efforts, and improving public safety.

Red helicopter

Additional aircraft will be stationed in the Eyre Peninsula, Mid-North and Lower South-East regions, to help protect the State’s vital forest industry and support the Port Lincoln community after a bushfire broke out near the town in early 2023.

6 December 2023