Israel to expand firefighting squadron

Israel to expand firefighting squadron

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has signed a $100-million contract for the purchase and operation of six new firefighting aircraft.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense has signed a $100-million contract with Elbit Systems for the purchase and operation of six new firefighting aircraft, meaning that the national firefighting squadron will expand from eight to fourteen planes. The contract, to be performed over an eight-year period, covers flight hours, infrastructure upgrades, maintenance, airstrip operation, handling of fire retardants and other aspects of operating the squadron.

The Israeli Air Force’s Elad firefighting squadron was founded four years ago following the Mount Carmel forest fire and is named after Elad Riben, the fire scout that was killed in that fire. Since its inauguration in 2011, the squadron has performed over 4,600 missions, accumulated over 2,500 flight hours and has helped extinguish over 500 potentially destructive fires across the country.