The Royal Australian Air Force will be assisting the NSW Rural Fire Service this bushfire season, by accommodating two large water bombing aircraft at RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney.
The first of the contracted aircraft, a C-130 Hercules Large Air Tanker nicknamed ‘Thor’, arrived at Richmond earlier this week, where it will be based until January 2016.
Thor is bigger than the fixed-wing aerial tankers traditionally used to fight bushfires. It can carry 15,000 litres of water or fire retardant, which can be released in one large drop or several smaller drops. With a cruise speed of more than 500km/h, the aircraft can respond to a fire almost anywhere in NSW within an hour.
Thor will be joined in the coming months by an even bigger DC-10 Very Large Air Tanker, which can drop up to 45,000 litres of water or retardant.Minister for Defence, Kevin Andrews, commended the way in which the federal government and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) have worked together to achieve this outcome.
“I am proud of the way in which the Commonwealth Government, the Air Force and the RFS have worked so closely together to help protect the community from the threat of bushfires,” he said.
Federal Member for Macquarie, Louise Markus, said that the support provided by the federal government will be of great benefit to residents in the Macquarie electorate and around New South Wales.
“By having this impressive new capability based out of RAAF Richmond, the RFS will be able to respond quickly and decisively to major bushfires in the Blue Mountains and beyond,” she said.
RAAF Base Richmond is a major Air Force base and is home to the RAAF’s 12 C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20152425
Chloe Petch (Minister Andrews’ Office): 0477 395 356
Stephanie Bates (Louise Markus’ Office): (02) 4577 2631
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999