The NSW Government and NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has finalised an agreement to further strengthen the State’s firefighting capability through the purchase of a former NSW Police Force helicopter.
The BK 117 helicopter, formerly designated as PolAir 5, will become the third aircraft owned and operated by the NSW RFS.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Stuart Ayres said the helicopter will be an important addition to the already strong firefighting fleet.
“In December, the NSW Government replaced the former PolAir 5 helicopter with new $17.3 million aircraft with a significantly upgraded capability, allowing this sale to the RFS,” Mr Ayres said.
“To keep this essential asset in the hands of our NSW emergency services is another boost to our already outstanding firefighting resources across the State.
“These helicopters can often be the difference between life and death, and will provide even greater support to the men and women on the ground fighting fires.
“This aircraft will also be available to all NSW emergency services including Fire & Rescue NSW and the State Emergency Service when required,” Mr Ayres added.
NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the helicopter will further strengthen the State’s fleet of aerial assets, which provide critical support to firefighters on the ground.
“Aircraft provide invaluable assistance to firefighters working to protect lives and property,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“This BK 117 helicopter is extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, including waterbombing, reconnaissance, mapping and aerial incendiary work.
“It can also be used to winch Remote Area Firefighting Teams and Rapid Aerial Response Teams into difficult to reach areas.”
The BK 117 helicopter will be a further addition to the NSW RFS State Air Desk that has a fleet of more than 100 aircraft available to all Government agencies.