The first commercially-owned and operated UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for use in firefighting in Australia have been unveiled by private aviation company Aerotech, in response to the increasing severity of the Australian bushfire season.
Aerotech outlined the capabilities of Black Hawk helicopters, including its rapid deployment speed and 4,000 liter capacity of water or fire suppressant.
Sam McCabe, Managing Director of Aerotech, said: “This responds to the key finding of the recent Bushfires Royal Commission that state and federal governments should develop an Australian sovereign aerial fleet comprising ‘Large Type 1 Helicopters’ such as the Black Hawk.”
Purchased on spec
McCabe continued: “It also overcomes the issue of relying on northern-hemisphere based Type 1 helicopters, which is becoming more problematic as the length of the bushfire season is getting longer in both hemispheres, therefore making it difficult for Australia to access these additional resources from overseas in shoulder periods.”
Currently, the Black Hawk helicopters are not yet deployed, as McCabe mentioned to ABC News that Aerotech had yet to sign any contracts for them yet. McCabe stated: “We bought them basically on spec […] We bought them out here to demonstrate them to various fire agencies and hope to try and win a contract for them.”