5 December 2019
Victoria’s summer aviation fleet was launched today, marked with a fly-over by one of the newest members of the fleet, Marty.
Marty, an orange Aircrane, will join Delilah, Victoria’s second Aircrane and Hunter and Hercules, the Large Air Tankers, to supplement the first-response aircraft around the state.
The 50-strong fleet includes a mix of firebombing, air supervision and aerial intelligence gathering aircraft. Twenty seven are helicopters and 23 are fixed wing aircraft.
Night operations will continue over the summer with two helicopters. The trial will build on the work done last year and will see aircraft deployed to the right fires and in the right circumstances.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said Victoria’s aviation fleet was a critical component in our firefighting capability over summer to keep the Victorian community safe.
“The majority of our helicopters and planes will be on pre-determined dispatch, which means they will respond immediately to fires at the same time as trucks and will be critical in keeping small fires small,” he said.
“Our aviation fleet is strategically placed across the state according to risk and we are able to move aircraft around quickly to respond to fires.
“The 50 aircraft is in addition to the thousands of firefighters from CFA and Forest Fire Management Victoria, trucks and other machinery used to fight fires and keep communities safe.”
Victoria is well placed and resourced for what could be a long summer ahead.
“Our recent Code Red day with elevated conditions, wind, heat and thunderstorms resulted in more than 150 fires across the state. While there’s been some great work done since that day, we still have 13 fires going mostly in the eastern half of our state,” Mr Crisp said.
“Summer in Victoria means we will have hot, dry and windy conditions and there will be fires. We can’t control where fires will happen, but we can control our preparedness.
“It can be hard to plan for fire when you haven't experienced it but staying safe over summer is a shared responsibility with the community.
“Victorians need to understand their local risk and how fires might affect them this summer – think about where you are, what the conditions are, prepare your property and make a plan. Know how to access good information to make good decisions.”
Supplementing Victoria’s core fleet of 50, Victoria can call on up to 100 other aircraft. As part of the national aircraft arrangements, Victoria can also access aircraft from other states when required and likewise, Victoria’s aircraft can operate interstate if it is required.