CFS aerial firefighting fleet contracts announced
The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) has secured contracts for 14 aircraft which will be used this Fire Danger Season across South Australia, as part of CFS bushfire suppression capabilities.
Manager of State Aviation Operations David Pearce says the NAFC tender process for an additional three surveillance aircraft is still ongoing but when finalised will bring the total aerial firefighting fleet in South Australia to 17, compared to 14 last Fire Danger Season.
The CFS participated in an international procurement process co-ordinated by the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) to acquire an aerial firefighting fleet for up to five years.
"We are extremely pleased with the configuration of our new aerial firefighting fleet and the support received from NAFC throughout the extensive acquisition process," Mr Pearce said.
"Aircraft are used to support ground crew suppression operations and the new fleet forms an important part of the integrated firefighting approach that the CFS uses."
Eleven of the 17 aircraft contracts have been awarded to Aerotech First Response, a South Australian owned and operated company.
NAFC General Manger Richard Alder says the highly specialised firefighting aircraft are supported by federal and state government funding.
"The collective procurement approach and subsequent combined purchasing power of all the States and Territories has enabled us to provide South Australia with a greatly increased aircraft capacity that is significantly better value for money."
The new South Australian fleet will comprise 10 Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and one high volume helicopter (Erickson Air-Crane) for firebombing, along with two rotary and four fixed wing aircraft to be used for surveillance.
"SEATs have a combined firebombing capacity of 32,000 litres of fire suppressant and with the Air-Crane's load capacity of 7,500 litres, the total fleet initial attack firebombing capacity is 39,500 litres representing an overall increase of 7,900 litres," Mr Pearce said.
The starting dates for contracted aircraft are dependent on the onset of the high bushfire risk period associated with the 2013/14 Fire Danger Season.