Victoria's aerial firefighting fleet faster and more agile than ever

19 November 2021
A helicoper shown on a runway, with sun shining behind it

This summer season, Victoria will have 50 aircraft placed across the state to help fight fires and keep communities safe.

The 2021-22 fleet includes a mix of firebombing aircraft, air supervision and airborne information gathering aircraft. Higher speed aircraft and increased carrying capacity means there is a greater flexibility and firebombing capacity in this year’s fleet.

New additions to the fleet include:

  • a CH47 Chinook with a capacity of 11,000 litres
  • a Q400 Large Air Tanker (LAT) that can carry 10,000 litres
  • a larger capacity Aircrane capable of holding 9000 litres
  • a Super Puma with a tank of up to 4000 litres.

The new CH47 Chinook is the highest capacity helicoptor in the fleet. Able to operate during the hottest part of the day and into the night, it will support the work of the Night Fire Aviation Program.

Two LATs will also be based at Avalon Airport. The new Q400 LAT has short take off and landing capabilities, so it can operate from smaller regional airports.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said this year’s fleet will be more agile and responsive than ever.

“Our 50 aircraft will be strategically placed across the state according to risk and we can move aircraft quickly to respond to fires anywhere in the state.”

The aerial firefighting fleet will play a crucial role in stopping the spread of fire and supporting firefighters on the ground.

“I’m confident that this aerial firefighting fleet will complement the great work that our firefighters do to keep our community safe,” said Mr Crisp.

The emergency management sector is preparing for the upcoming fire season. Following a wet winter and spring forecast, the quarterly Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook has predicted an increased risk of grassfires in Victoria.

Read more about the seasonal outlook for Victoria (External link).