Israel — Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE:ESLT) is bidding for a Ministry of Defense tender to set up a firefighting air squadron, which is being established as part of the lessons learned from the Carmel fire disaster. Elbit is bidding together with Chim-Nir Flight Services Ltd. (TASE:CINR). The Ministry of Defense is budgeting NIS 200 million over the next two years for the squadron.
The Carmel fire three months ago claimed 44 lives and destroyed 50,000 dunam (12,500 acres) of natural forest. The fire ignited a public debate about the backwardness of the Fire & Rescue Services as Israel needed to call on foreign assistance to cope with the huge blaze.
Chim-Nir is offering the Fire & Rescue Services US manufactured 660 Thrush model. Each plane can carry 2,750 liters of water mixed with fire retardants. The cost of each plane is about $2 million.
Chim-Nir already imports fire retardants from France for the Fir & Rescue Service and has recommended that Israel stockpiles at least 1,000 tons of the substance. Chim-Nir CEO David Golan told “Globes” last month that such a large stockpile spread around the country would enable Israel to fight a fire on the scale of the Carmel blaze for a full week.