Aircraft boosts bush firefighting capability

Published: 5 Aug 2019

The NSW Rural Fire Service has boosted its capacity to fight bushfires all year round with the permanent addition of a 737 Large Air Tanker to its fleet.

It is the first time NSW will have a Large Air Tanker ready to respond to bushfires at any time and across the State. In previous years, this type of aircraft has been contracted from the United States during the warmer months.

It is named Marie Bashir in honour of The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, the former and second longest serving Governor of NSW and the first female Governor of the State.

The fully operational $26.3 million aircraft has a cruising speed of 850km an hour, drops 15,000 litres of fire suppressant and can transport firefighters.

NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott welcomed the Large Air Tanker at the RAAF Base Richmond, with Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers.

“Our most important bush firefighting asset is our firefighters and having this aircraft permanently available year-round shows the NSW Government’s commitment to having the best available equipment to help protect lives and property,” Mr Elliott said.

Dame Marie said she was humbled to receive this honour from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

“Our emergency service members are world class and I thank them for all they have done and continue to do, protecting the communities of NSW,” she said.

Coulson Aviation PTY will operate the aircraft and its two lead planes.

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