Bombers on trial

Bombers on trial

14 September 2010

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Australia: TWO fire bombing planes will be trialled as part of Victoria’s firefighting arsenal this summer.

Gavin Jennings, Environment and Climate Change Minister, said the state government will invest $12 million for two new Convair 580 fire bomber planes, a new Erikson Aircrane and four extra fixed-wing aircraft.

The new aircraft will bring Victoria’s aerial firefighting arsenal to 48, with a further 170 aircraft on standby. The trial of the two new fire bombers will replace a trial last year of a Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT), following an assessment by the National Bushfire Co-Operative Research Centre that its use was less effective in Victorian firefighting terrain.

Mr Jennings said the new bombers had the capacity to carry and drop 8000 litres of water or fire retardant and will be deployed at airfields to provide flexibility to firefighting efforts.

“We have made big changes to how we prepare for and fight fires since the tragic Black Saturday and Gippsland fires, including investing over $1 billion towards the firefighting and reconstruction effort,” Mr Jennings said.

“These aircraft can refill very quickly, delivering rapid response, which can significantly increase their impact during fires, especially in the crucial early stages of an outbreak.”

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