The company, which specializes in working with this type of helicopter, defeated rival bids from both Leonardo and Bell Helicopter to be awarded the contract.
The contract includes the delivery of six aircraft over the next three years, as well as the provision of five years of on-site maintenance and logistical support. Arista will also provide training for six pilots and 21 mechanics on behalf of the FAP.
The aircraft will offer a significant increase in the FAP’s aerial firefighting capabilities – according to the company, each Arista-modified Black Hawk will have the ability to transport 12 firefighters and over 750 gallons of water at a time. The contract was awarded in the wake of an intense wildfire season in Portugal, which saw 125 forest fires recorded nationwide on 9 July alone.
“The Black Hawk has proven itself around the world as an extremely versatile airframe, and we are proud to offer our customers a wide variety of options to help ensure their mission success,” said Arista President Rich Enderle. “Our aerial firefighting configuration is highly successful in fighting US wildfires in California and other western states, and we are thrilled to be able to internationally introduce these lifesaving platforms to Portugal.”