Thor – a C-130-based large water bomber – has landed at RAAF Base Richmond in Sydney where the Royal Australian Air Force has pledged assistance to the NSW Rural Fire Service this bushfire season.
The first of two contracted aircraft arrived at Richmond earlier this week, where it will be based until January 2016.
Thor 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 much quicker and more effectively than other smaller aircraft used in the past.
Thor will be joined in coming months by an even bigger DC-10 ‘Very Large Air Tanker’, which can drop up to 45,000 litres of water or retardant.
Defence is providing a number of services including aircraft parking and security, access to fuel and refuelling facilities, equipment storage, use of resources including water, aircrew office space, and meals and accommodation for up to 20 people, as required.
RAAF Base Richmond is home to the RAAF’s 12 C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.
State and territory governments in Australia have primary responsibility for the protection of life, property and the environment, and for coordinating and planning of emergency response or recovery operations within their jurisdictions.
Ground-based and aerial bush fire fighting is a highly specialised field that requires equipment and training that, in general, Defence does not possess.