TFS aerial fleet launch

January 20, 2023 9:17 pm in by


Authorities have revealed there’s no extra aerial firepower for Tasmania to combat bushfires this season, as the fleet was launched at Rokeby on Friday. 

The same dozen firefighting aircraft from last year are back to safeguard the state in the tail end of summer.

The National Aerial Firefighting Centre has arranged for the leasing of aircraft nationwide. 

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Tassie’s complement includes four fixed-wing craft and eight helicopters with access to another 20 locally-owned aircraft available as well.

There are four Bell choppers, considered reliable waterbombing workhorses, as well as two Fireboss air tractors able to scoop up water on the wing thanks to their amphibious floats.

TFS Chief Dermot Barry says they’ll continue with their new strategy of hard-and-fast aerial attack until ground crews arrive, but warns the sky power doesn’t replace the need for property owners to prepare.

“We’re confident in our capacity and capability to respond to bushfires this season, but we need members of the community to play their part too,” he said. 

“Property owners need to clean up around their properties and make sure they have a well thought out bushfire survival plan.”

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The lineup:

• 2 x “Air Tractor” AT-802F

• 2 x “Fireboss” is the AT-802F, equipped with amphibious floats

• 4 x “Bell” 214B helicopters

• 2 x “Twin Squirrel” AS355-F1 helicopters

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• 1 x FB 700 AS350-B2 Special Intelligence Gathering helicopter

• 1x “HeliTreck” BK117




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