GFMC: Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities inThe Event of Natural or Technological Disasters

Charter on Cooperation to Achieve the Coordinated Use of Space Facilities in The Event of Natural or Technological Disasters


Article I Definitions
Article II Purpose of the Charter
Article III Overall organisation of cooperation
Article IV Contributions by the parties
Article V Associated bodies
Article VI Accession
Article VII Entry into force, expiry and withdrawal
Article VIII Implementation



RECOGNISING the potential applications of space technologies in the management of disasters caused by natural phenomena or technological accidents, and in particular Earth observation, telecommunications, meteorology and positioning technologies;

RECOGNISING the development of initiatives concerning the use of space facilities for managing natural or technological disasters;

RECOGNISING the interest shown by rescue and civil protection, defence and security bodies and the need to respond to that interest by making space facilities more easily accessible;

DESIROUS to strengthen international cooperation in this humanitarian undertaking;

HAVING REGARD to United Nations Resolution 41/65 of 1986 on remote sensing of the Earth from space;

BELIEVING that by combining their resources and efforts, they can improve the use of available space facilities and increase the efficiency of services that may be provided to crisis victims and to the bodies called upon to help them;




Article I – Definitions

For the purposes of this Charter:

The term “natural or technological disaster” means a situation of great distress involving loss of human life or large-scale damage to property, caused by a natural phenomenon, such as a cyclone, tornado, earthquake, volcanic eruption, flood or forest fire, or by a technological accident, such as pollution byhydrocarbons, toxic or radioactive substances;

The term “Charter” means this text;

The term “crisis” means the period immediately before, during or immediately after a natural or technological disaster, in the course of which warning, emergency or rescue operations take place;

The term “space data” means raw data gathered by a space system controlled by one of the parties, or to which that party has access, and transmitted or conveyed to a ground receiving station;

The term “information” means data that have been corrected and processed by the parties using an analysis program, in preparation for use in crisis management by one or more associated bodies in aid of the beneficiaries; it forms the basis for the extraction of specific products for use on location;

The term “space facilities” means space systems for observation, meteorology, positioning, telecommunications and TV broadcasting or elements thereof such as on-board instruments, terminals, beacons, receivers, VSATs and archives;

The term “parties” means the agencies and space system operators that are signatories to the Charter;

The term “associated bodies” means the rescue and civil protection, defence and security bodies or other services referred to in Articles 5.2 and 5.3;

The term “cooperating bodies” refers collectively to the various bodies and institutions, referred to in Article 3.5 of the Charter, with which the parties cooperate;

The term “crisis victims” means any State or community for whose benefit the intervention of the parties is sought by the associated bodies.

The term “beneficiary bodies” means all the bodies benefiting from information intended for crisis management; for example, the authorities and bodies concerned in countries affected by a disaster. Certain associated bodies may also be beneficiaries at the time of a disaster.


Article II – Purpose of the Charter

In promoting cooperation between space agencies and space system operators in the use of space facilities as a contribution to the management of crises arising from natural or technological disasters, the Charter seeks to pursue the following objectives:

  • supply during periods of crisis, to States or communities whose population, activities or property are exposed to an imminent risk, or are already victims, of natural or technological disasters, data providing a basis for critical information for the anticipation and management of potential crises;
  • participation, by means of this data and of the information and services resulting from the exploitation of space facilities, in the organisation of emergency assistance or reconstruction and subsequent operations.


Article III – Overall organisation of cooperation

3.1 The parties shall develop their cooperation on a voluntary basis, no funds being exchanged between them.

3.2 The Charter shall be open, in accordance with the provisions of Article VI below, to space agencies and national or international space system operators wishing to cooperate in it.

3.3 The administrative, operational and technical coordination needed to achieve this cooperation shall be provided by a Board on which each party is represented and an executive Secretariat for implementation of the Charter.

3.4 The authorities and bodies concerned in a country affected by a disaster (beneficiary bodies) should request the intervention of the parties either directly through the rescue and civil protection, defence and security bodies of the country to which one of the parties belongs or of a State belonging to international organisations that are parties to the Charter (associated bodies) or where appropriate via a cooperating body acting in partnership with an associated body.
The country affected by a disaster may also make a direct approach to the parties’ Secretariat but, for the purposes of the intervention itself, the bodies concerned in that country must engage a partnership with one or more associated bodies.
The above provisions in no circumstances prevent parties intervening on their own initiative.

3.5 The European Union, the UN Bureau for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and other recognised national or international organisations, whether governmental or non-governmental, are bodies with which the parties may have cause to cooperate in pursuance of the Charter (cooperating bodies). The Board shall maintain a regularly updated list of cooperating bodies.


Article IV – Contributions by the parties

The parties shall use their best endeavours in the conduct of this cooperation, which shall proceed on the following basis:

4.1 Space facilities available for use

The parties shall undertake to maintain an up-to-date list of the available space facilities under their management and, as far as possible, of such space facilities under the management of private or public operators as may be called upon to supplement the parties’ own facilities. In particular, the list shall specify for each space system the following details:

  • mission characteristics
  • orbital characteristics
  • operational condition
  • programming procedure
  • products and services provided by ground systems.

4.2 Scenario-writing

The parties shall together analyse recent crises for which space facilities could have provided or did provide effective assistance to the authorities and rescue services concerned. A report, structured according to the crises identified and the types of situation encountered, and highlighting possible contributions by existing facilities, shall be prepared by the Secretariat in consultation with the associated bodies described in Article V below and where appropriate with cooperating bodies.

Moreover, the parties shall keep abreast of new methods being developed in applied research for warning of, anticipating and managing disasters. Once these new methods (or technologies) have been identified and validated by the design authorities and associated bodies, they may, with the Board’s approval, be subjected to pre-operational implementation testing. A test report and an assessment of the areas of application of the method would then be prepared by the Secretariat.

Lastly the Secretariat shall be responsible for designing and proposing, on the basis set out above, scenarios for each type of crisis. Each scenario shall state the conditions under which the parties would coordinate, in the event of a crisis being identified, their action in supplying appropriate information and services, access to the available space facilities being planned accordingly. These scenarios, approved by the Board and regularly updated, shall constitute the basis for action in the event of identification of a crisis.

4.3 Identification of a crisis situation

A crisis situation exists primarily where so identified by a country affected by a disaster and at least one associated body seeking the intervention of the parties underthe terms of the Charter, in accordance with the provisions of Article 3.4 above.

The Secretariat shall handle all associated body requests and shall thus have the authority, once it has identified a crisis situation, to arrange for the appropriate action to be taken.

4.4 Planning of space facility availability in the event of a crisis

In the event of a crisis, the parties shall use their best endeavours to plan the availability of space facilities or arrange for it to be so planned.

Such planning shall reflect the provisions described in the corresponding scenarios defined in Article 4.2 above.

In the event of an alert or potential crisis, the parties may, in anticipation, plan the availability of the satellite systems under their control.

4.5 Organisation and assistance on completion of planning arrangements

The parties shall use their best endeavours, in accordance with the identified crisis scenarios, to supply associated bodies and, where appropriate, beneficiary bodies with data, and if necessary associated information and services, gathered by the space facilities.

Implementation of the procedures described in the scenarios implies coordination of tasks between the parties, possibly leading to combining of the available resources:

  • access to data archives
  • merging of the data to aid understanding of pre-crisis situations
  • access to data acquired at the time of the crisis
  • merging of those data to report on the crisis
  • routing of information to the user
  • access to all the technological resources available – telecommunications, data collection, navigation.

The procedures for accessing and integrating data or other services (telecommunications, data collection, navigation) to obtain specific products shall, as far as possible, be stipulated in the scenario descriptions.


Article V – Associated bodies

5.1 The role of associated bodies in intervention by the parties is defined in Article 3.4.

5.2 An associated body shall, for the purposes of this Charter, be an institution or service responsible for rescue and civil protection, defence and security under the authority of a State whose jurisdiction covers an agency or operator that is a party to the Charter, or of a Member State of ESA or of an international organisation that is a party to the Charter.

5.3 Any entity or service authorised to this effect by the Board may also be considered an associated body.

5.4 The parties shall ensure that associated bodies which, at the request of the country or countries affected by a disaster, call on the assistance of the parties undertake to:

  • alert the Secretariat as soon as possible in the event of a crisis and designate their points of contact;
  • promptly provide the Secretariat with the necessary details;
  • use the supplied information only for the purposes defined with the Secretariat;
  • take part as necessary in the relevant meetings organised by the Secretariat;
  • report on the use made of the data, information and services supplied and prepare an assessment of each case for which intervention took place;
  • confirm that no legal action will be taken against the parties in the event of bodily injury, damage or financial loss arising from the execution or non-execution of activities, services or supplies arising out of the Charter;
  • meet any other condition agreed with the Secretariat or Board.


Article VI – Accession

6.1 It is the intent of the parties to encourage the widest possible accession to the Charter by agencies and national or international space system operators.

Requests to adhere to the Charter may be made by any space system operator or space agency with access to space facilities which agrees to contribute to the commitments made by the parties under Article IV above and is willing to assume the responsibilities of a party under the terms of the Charter.

6.2 The Board shall examine accession requests and formulate its recommendations to the parties to the Charter within 180 days of their submission. In doing so, it shall consider that any new accession must, in particular:

  • bring a significant contribution by the acceding party to the intervention capacity required for the purposes of the Charter and a commitment to bear its share of the common costs;
  • help to achieve the objectives of the parties;
  • be such as not to compromise normal deployment of the systems already in place.
  • On the basis of such recommendations by the Board, any accession shall require the unanimous approval of the parties to the Charter.


Article VII – Entry into force, expiry and withdrawal

7.1 The Charter shall enter into force on the day of its signature by at least two parties. It may be terminated at any time by mutual consent of the parties. Any party may withdraw from the Charter after notifying, with 180 days’ notice, the other party or parties in writing of its intention to do so. The possibility of pursuing the mission in a modified form shall be examined by the parties. The party intending to withdraw shall endeavour to maintain continuity of its current contribution.

7.2 Subject to the provisions of Article 7.1 above, the Charter shall remain in force for a period of five years from the date of its entry into force, and shall be automatically extended for subsequent periods of five years.


Article VIII – Implementation

The implementation arrangements for this Charter shall be defined by the parties meeting in the Board.

EN FOI DE QUOI, les Soussignés ont signé la présente Charte en deux originaux, l’un en langue française et l’autre en langue anglaise, chacun des textes faisant également foi.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned have signed the Charter in two originals, one in the French and one in the English language, both texts being equally Authentic.


Fait à Paris le 20 juin 2000
Done in Paris on 20 June 2000

Pour le Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
Représenté par son Président M. Alain Bensoussan
Et par délégation par son Directeur Général M. Gérard Brachet

For the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales
Represented by its president, Mr. Alain Bensoussan,
And, by delegation, its Director General, Mr. Gérard Brachet

Pour l’Agence Spatiale Européenne
représenté par son Directeur Général M. Antonio Rodotà

For the European Space Agency
Represented by its Director General, Mr. Antonio Rodotà


GFMC: International Wildland Fire Material Suppliers

Spegel Helibuckets


Spegel Mechanical Engineering (Augsburg, Germany) offers a range of helibuckets sizes (550 to 10,000 liters).

Direct contact:
Fax: ++49-821-41 50 86
Tel: ++49-821-41 50 85



GFMC: International Wildland Fire Response Operators and Material Suppliers


International Wildland Fire Response Operators and Material Suppliers

Related Information for International Wildfire Emergency Assistance:

International Agreements | Satellite Data | Operators and Equipment | Exercises

The following companies or organizations are collaborating with the Global Fire Monitoring Center in providing fire fighting assistance in large wildland fire emergencies. Additional addresses have been taken from the World Wide Web. A list of international wildland fire experts available for rapid assessment, training and response missions is on file at the GFMC.

Note: The deployment / involvement of international fire management experts by GFMC and its partners (notably in cooperation with focal points of the UNISDR Global Wildland Fire Network) for wildfire emergency assessment and / or coordination of response has been realized in a number of cases through cooperative agreements with countries or the United Nations (UNEP/OCHA), e.g., the Ethiopia fire emergency in 2000, Viet Nam 2002, Peru 2006; Armenia/Azerbaijan 2006; Kosovo 2007.


I. International Response Groups Cooperating with the GFMC

II. Other Wildland Fire Management Services



III. Other Aerial Wildland Firefighting Services



South Africa


IV. Suppliers of Firefighting Equipment

The following list will be expanded gradually. It will include those commercial suppliers that either have firefighting equipment on stock or readily available through their system.

GFMC: Czech Flying Firefighting Group

Czech Flying Firefighting Group

The Czech Flying Firefighting Group offers the following aircraft for forest fire and other wildland fire suppression:

  • Z-137T (Turboprop)

STOL 1000 litres (2 aircrafts)

  • M-17 Dromader

STOL 2200 litres (2 aircrafts)

  • AN-2

STOL 1350 litres (6 aircrafts and 12 smokejumpers)

  • Z-37/A/C3 Bumblebee

STOL 1 pilot plus 2 observers

  • B-12 Gull (Beriev)

Amphibian 6500 litres, 12 hours on task (to be available in the near future). For general information on Russian amphibian fire fighting planes: See website of Beriev Aircraft Company.

All aircraft have experienced pilots, crews and aerial observers. As “short take off and landing” (STOL) aircraft short grass strips are required. Mobilization: 2 to 3 hours after reuqest, depending on distances.


Radovan Talacko
Pilot Observer
Sturzeneggstr. 19
CH – 9015 St. Gallen

Tel: +41-71-311-3270
Fax: +41-71-311-3270
Emergency mobile phone: ++41-79-648-4651


Z-137T  (27 KB)

Test drop from a Z-137T in Switzerland

Z-137T  (19 KB)

Close-up view of the Z-137T

Z-37A C3   (25 KB)

Fire observation and lead plane Z-37A C3


GFMC: CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch

CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch

As part of its Disaster Watch Program, the CanadianSpace Agency (CSA)is undertaking the initiative of sending out E-mail notices to the individualsand organizations interested in knowing about RADARSAT-1 coverage of natural orhuman made disasters, which occur almost daily around the world. The objectiveof this notice, to be entitled “CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch”, is toinform the potential users in a timely manner of the valuable space-based dataand information that is available, and which may assist in coping with thesedisasters and mitigating their effects.

Through the “CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch”notice, information can be received concerning all of the RADARSAT-1 images thathave been acquired under the Disaster Watch Program. This information includes:

·                    the part of theworld which was imaged (which city, country, sea, etc…) 

·                    the type ofdisaster that occurred there (i.e.: volcano eruption, wildland fireetc…) 

·                    the date andtime each image was acquired 

·                    the RADARSAT-1beam mode that was used to image the area 

·                    the RADARSAT-1cycle that the satellite was in at the time of acquisition 

·                    the RADARSAT-1orbit that the satellite was in at the time of acquisition 

·                    the duration ofthe acquisition (corresponds to how much of the area was imaged at thattime) 

·                    whether theimage was downlinked in real time or stored on the onboard recorder until thesatellite was within range of a receiving station 

·                    which receivingstation the image was downlinked to


Some of the images mentioned in the “CSARADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch” notice will have been acquired as part of the”Space and Major Disasters” international charter. Visit the Charterat the following address:

Any such images will be identified in both the e-mailand in our Disaster Watch Archive. Please note that an Email will be receivedonly on those days that data has been acquired under the Disaster Watch Program.

The RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watch Archive is a large,searchable database containing data acquired under the Disaster Watch Program.Interested users are invited to explore this tool by visiting our website at thefollowing address:


Information is given here how RADARSAT-1 data can beordered. In order to be included as part of the CSA RADARSAT-1 Disaster Watchdistribution list contact Disaster Watch by sending an e-mail to



Daedalus Airborne Bispectral Imager for mapping complex fires

Angiel EnviroSafe provides airborne fire mapping. For this the company utilizes a twin engine Piper Aztec equipped with a Daedalus ABS (Airborne Bispectral Imager) imaging system. This system has one band in the thermal IR at 8.5 to 12.5 microns and it has a very wide 86 degree field of view.


Fig.1. Daedalus ABS package

The equipment is based in the US and can be flown to most American and European sites. It can be sent by commercial airline for mounting on local aircraft at more distant locations. The only requirements are a camera hole and a 28 Volt power supply.


Fig.2. Fire mapping by Daedalus: A fire map in the Western US produced by the US Forest Service

Long term positioning or relocations are very possible, e.g. in Europe (the owner is a citizen of the EC).


Mr. Pierre Angiel
Cell phone: +1-786 897-5562
Angiel EnviroSafe website:




International Charter Space and Major Disasters

Following the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999, the European and French space agencies (ESA and CNES) initiated the International Charter Space and Major Disasters, with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) signing the Charter on October 20, 2000. The International Charter was declared formally operational on 1 November 2000. In September of 2001, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) also became members of the Charter. The Argentine Space Agency (CONAE) became a member in July 2003. An authorized user can now call a single number to request the mobilization of the space and associated ground resources (RADARSAT, ERS, SPOT) of the three agencies to obtain data and information on a disaster occurrence. A 24-hour on-duty operator receives the call and helps the user put together the preliminary information. Website of the Charter:

Assistance through the UN Outer Office for Space Affairs (UNOOSA)

As a Cooperating Body to the Charter UNOOSA can request imagery on behalf of the UN system to deal with emergency response. If you are part of the UN system and have a need for imagery to deal with disasters or would be interested in receiving more information please send an email to

For further information please see the UNOOSA website on the Charter:

The website of UNOSAT provides the humanitarian community with access to satellite imagery and GIS services:

Assistance through the GFMC

In case of fire emergencies the Global Fire Monitoring Center is available to support acquisition of satellite data for non-authorized countries through the Focal Point Germany. Please use the GFMC Emergency Hotlines.

Other Providers of Satellite Data

GFMC: Polish Fire Fighting Aircraft Dromader Internationally Available

Polish Fire Fighting Aircraft Dromader Internationally Available

At BALTEX FIRE 2000 it has been agreed with Polskie Zaklady Lotnice to publish a list of operators of the PZL M-18 DROMADER agricultural and fire-fighting aircraft. M-18 aircraft (STOL) have a load capacity of 2500 litres.

PZL M-18 Operators List



Related Information for International Wildfire Emergency Assistance:

International Agreements | Satellite Data | Operators and Equipment | Exercises

Establishment of Contact with UN-OCHA or GFMC

In view of the extended wildfires in South East Asia and the Americas in 1997-98, in Africa, the Mediterranean region and the United States of America in 2000, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) / UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) Joint Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch and the Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) recognized the need for improved cooperation in preparedness, early warning, information dissemination and response to wildland fire emergencies. In March 2001 Joint Interface procedures between UNEP-OCHA and the GFMC have been signed and have been proven effective since then.

In case of a large wildland fire incident that threatens national resources and/or international interests and thus requires response by the international community, the country affected may call assistance through the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch through the following communication links:

During regular working hours, the preferred manner of notification is by facsimile, although telephone or other means of communication, as given below, may be used as appropriate. The contact information for communicating with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch is as follows:


Emergency Preparedness and Environment Section
Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, Emergency Services Branch
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Palais des Nations, Bureau 144
CH 1211 Geneva 10

Fax: +41-22-917-0257

Telephone: +41-22-917-1934 /1815 / 3484 / 2208

Telephone in case of emergency (only, to be used outside regular office hours (Geneva local time is UTC + 2hrs): +41-22-917-2010


UNEP/OCHA Environmental Emergencies Response: Joint Environment Unit biannual reports (with GFMC contributions):

For international fire emergencies the GFMC cooperates with UN OCHA and on any other request by providing:

  • Background information on the ecological, social and cultural fire environment of the region or country concerned
  • Fire intelligence data (satellite imageries available from various sources)
  • Early warning of fires, fire-weather predictions
  • Contact persons in the countries affected
  • Liaise with the joint UNEP-OCHA unit
  • Liaise with regional and international fire experts

This service is available to support information flow to officially ongoing emergency response through UN OCHA and other international mechanisms and procedures. Since February 2005 the GFMC is associated and closely working with the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) Team. Since 2014 the GFMC is serving as Interim Secretariat of the International Wildfire Preparedness Mechanism (IWPM) and offers a number of tools that may either be used directly online or be requested for implementation by interested parties.

The following GFMC hotlines should be used only for requesting emergency assessment and national wildland fire management support.

Contact: Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC)

Fax: +49-761-808012

Telephone: +49-761-808011

Telephone in case of emergency only to be used outside regular office hours:

+49-170 2 34 74 84

Satellite Telephone (Iridium) during emergency field operations (if activated):



GFMC Website:

Please note: The GFMC is located in Germany. Local German time is UTC (GMT) + 2 hours

GFMC: Global Emergency Response

Global Emergency Response (20 KB)

Global Emergency Response is the unique commercial alliance of:

  • Air Routing International Corporation, Houston, Texas, USA;
  • EMERCOM (The Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters), Moscow, Russia, CIS;
  • Ilyushin Aviation Joint Stock Co Ltd, Moscow, Russia, CIS; and
  • Total Corporate Aviation Services Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Bringing together an operation seeking to deploy internationally the largest and demonstrably most potent and effective fire-fighting aircraft in the world.

(28 KB)

The Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber” (Il-76)
Photo: courtesy of El Centro de Entrenamiento de Bomberos Profesionales de Peru



Tom Robinson
Global Emergency Response
Chief Administrator

Jose Musse
Global Emergency Response
Ibero-American Representative

To ensure you are on the mailing list to receive regular press release material:
John Anderson
Global Emergency Response
Press Officer

Global Emergency Response Website:


Il-76 Technical Detail

image35.gif (38516 Byte)The Il-76, unlike all other fire-fighting aircraft in current use, is a turbo-fan jet. Primarily, it is a heavy-lift aircraft widely in use globally in civilian, military and disaster mitigation operations. The 11,000-US gallon (42,000-litre) VAP2 twin tanking system with gravity release makes the aircraft ideally suited to combating large forest fires and severe oil spill dispersal.

The military requirement characteristics ensure it has suitability for battlefield conditions, with short take off/land capabilities even on unimproved grass strips. A 20-wheel undercarriage gives the aircraft a tremendously “light footprint”. Recommended runway length is 6000 feet (1850 meters), absolute only when the aircraft is fully laden with fuel and payload (a full 11,000-gallon payload would be substantially less than maximum).

The range of the aircraft is 3000+ miles (5000 kilometers) with a cruising speed of 500mph (800kph or 430 knots). (22 KB)In drop mode the Il-76 travels at 300 feet (90 meters) above ground level at a speed of 175mph (280kph or 151 knots). This drop speed is exactly the same speed as all other waterbomber, fire-fighting aircraft; the height above ground is marginally greater, giving increased safety, whilst not compromising load dispersion. Liquids descend vertically, as rain, ensuring even penetration of forest canopy and optimal effect on forest floor.

The dual tanking system gives the opportunity to release the payload in either consecutive or simultaneous mode. In a consecutive(26 KB) mode the aircraft would release the 11,000-gallon payload over an area 3950 feet (1.2 kilometers) by 295 feet (90 meters). For greater potency, the simultaneous mode releases a full payload over an area 1800 feet (550 meters) by 325 feet (100 meters). A drop pass will release a full payload in one 8–10 second pass with water, or a 15-20 second pass with retardant additive. The Il-76 can be loaded with a full payload in 15 minutes ready for take-off. Monsanto Phos-Chek WD 881 is certified for use with the Il-76, other retardant additives are suitable for certification. A new tanking system currently in development by Ilyushin Aviation will give a higher payload of 15,000 gallons and a variable release.

The aircraft is equipped with heat-seeking devices and associated computer-driven fire data simulations providing assistance with aiming the drop for maximum effect on mass fire.

Leading edge wing designs and special flaps together with high-lift devices and thrust reversers on each of the four very powerful engines allow for low, slow flight, and safe landings on remote, rough and generally shorter runways.  These are ideal features for remote drop missions of any kind including, for example, dropping relief supplies bundles, pre-fabricated hospitals, oil spill containment equipment, and the like.

(40 KB) image38.gif (19912 Byte)

This emergency response service aircraft comes complete with a fully experienced, qualified and certified EMERCOM crew of eight, ground fire-fighting crew if required, spares for fix-and-fly servicing and full pumping equipment for tank filling. (21 KB)

Such capabilities give this remarkable aircraft considerable advantages over the other great fire-fighting aircraft. The Martin Mars is capable of releasing 7200 gallons, and is reputed to have never lost a fire, but only 2 aircraft are left in existence and these are reported to be retiring. The C-130 Hercules, more regularly in use in fire fighting, has a capacity of 3000 gallons. Both of these aircraft, indeed all other fire-fighting planes are of turbo-prop propulsion.

With many other fire-fighting planes being of 1950s technology, and with no new large-volume waterbombing capability aircraft currently on the drawing board, or modern comparative aircraft suitable for conversion, the future of large fire mitigation is the Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber”. Essentially, this service is a stand alone, fully integrated service for combating large forest and wildland fire, as well as a range of other disaster and emergency response missions.




In 1994, by Presidential Decree, President Boris Yeltsin directed that the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters (EMERCOM) should be created, and appointed Sergei Kozhugetovich Shoigu as Minister. Minister Shoigu, of Tuvan ethnic background, would appear to have been a particularly creative choice by Yeltsin, being a politician who continues to be widely adored by the Russian people.

In the first half of 1994, Russian disasters had shown a near one-third increase over the same period of the previous year. 20,000 people were affected with close to 1200 fatalities, and significantly, included six nuclear plant emergencies. In 1996, an early use by EMERCOM saw the Il-76 in response to a blazing oil lake fire in Volgograd. EMERCOM has won the affection of the Russian nation with the work performed following the Moscow bomb-blasts that were attributed to Chechen rebels.

The EMERCOM team entered the international arena of extreme complex and non-complex emergency response with teams responding to humanitarian needs in Bosnia, the January 1999 Colombian earthquake and the August 1999 Istanbul earthquake. The teams may not have had the crisp uniforms or even the sophisticated equipment of other international response teams but proved as professional and capable as any. In 2000 the Il-76 facilitated the humanitarian effort of EMERCOM to Mozambique. To date EMERCOM has responded to emergencies in nearly 60 countries around the globe.

The future of EMERCOM is seen to be in the international arena as well as the domestic. National border controls hinder the work of non-complex emergency response teams. Sergei Shoigu believes that an international response team under the auspices of the United Nations should be created. EMERCOM and its ‘extreme machine’ the Ilyushin 76TD “waterbomber” would be an integral part of that agency. In EMERCOM, “we have developed a professional and efficient system that has saved more than 50,000 lives, and we are very proud of this achievement.” Sergei Shoigu, EMERCOM Minister (extract from an interview with The Moscow Times).