Adding two more large airtankers will boost firefighting capability for Western Australia as emergency services personnel prepare for a busy bushfire season. A C-130 Hercules from Coulson Aviation was added on December 5 and is expected to serve in Western Australia (WA) for four seasons. The WA Minister for Emergency Services’ office said the Coulson contract was secured with an $11 million investment to ensure there is a locally based airtanker in the state for the first time.
The Australian Rural & Regional News reported that a Commonwealth-funded Boeing 737 will arrive later this month and will also be based in WA. This arrangement has been secured from the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council National Resource Sharing Centre. Both airtankers can carry more than 15,000 litres — just under 4,000 gallons — of fire suppressant, and both will be based at Busselton-Margaret River Airport in the South-West.
Western Australia’s aerial fleet comprises 36 rotary and fixed-wing suppression and aerial intelligence aircraft, and for the second consecutive year will feature two Black Hawk helicopters.