Specialist Firefighting Aircraft Take To Victorian Skies

01 December 2015

Victoria’s air defence against bushfires has been boosted with the arrival of two of the world’s biggest firefighting aircraft.

Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett and Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water Lisa Neville welcomed the two Large Air Tankers (LATs), RJ and Hercules, at Avalon Airport today.

Each LAT can carry more 12,000 litres of water, retardant or foam. In 2014-15, they dropped more than one million litres of retardant across Australia during bushfires.

The LATs played a significant role in stoping the spread of large fires last summer season. They also provided support to South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Two 7500-litre air cranes – Elsie and Ichabod – will also be ready to protect communities this bushfire season.

The state’s total firefighting fleet is 47 with another 100 aircraft on call if needed.

The $23.3 million fleet has already been active this season, with 158 aircraft responding to 62 incidents since the start of October.

This season, emergency services have already responded to more than 1600 fires across the state.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett

“The Large Air Tankers are game changers when it comes to fighting bushfires. The aircraft will support our firefighters on the front line and help keep communities safe.”

“The Andrews Labor Government invested more than $20 million to secure the biggest ever fleet for Victoria this summer. We want to make sure we are well-prepared for a potentially devastating fire season. ”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, Lisa Neville

“Victoria is bracing for another busy fire season, with the long-range weather forecast showing an increased risk of bushfires across the state.”

“The arrival of the aircraft fleet is a major boost heading into what could be a challenging few months for our firefighting crews.”

Reviewed 10 February 2021

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