New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott
‘Marie Bashir’ Large Air Tanker Touches Down
Victor P Taffa
For the very first time, New South Wales will have a permanent 737 Large Air Tanker (LAT) all year round to respond to bushfires across the State.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott welcomed the $26.3 Million permanent addition to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) with Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers at the RAAF Base Richmond today.
LAT will be named Marie Bashir in honour of Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, the former and second longest serving Governor of New South Wales and the first female Governor of the State.
LAT will remain in New South Wales throughout the year. It has a cruising speed of 850 km an hour, drops 15,000 litres of fire suppressant, can transport firefighters and is operational from today.
“While in previous years we have had contracted Large Air Tankers from the United States over the warmer months, this LAT is now here to stay.” Minister Elliott.
“Our most important bush firefighting asset is our firefighters, and having this aircraft permanently available year-round shows the New South Wales Government’s commitment to having the best available equipment to help protect lives and property.”
Dame Marie Bashir attended the event and said she was humbled to receive this honour from the NSW RFS.
“Our emergency service members are world class and I thank them for all they have done and continue to do, protecting the communities of New South Wales.” Dame Marie Bashir said.
New South Wales RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers said the 737 and its two lead planes will provide fast, flexible and effective firefighting options, supporting crews on the ground.
“We saw an increase in fires last July and August, so it is comforting to know this aircraft is ready to be deployed at any time when needed.” Acting Commissioner Rogers said.
Coulson Aviation PTY will operate the LAT and its two lead planes.
Left to Right:
Robyn Preston MP, David Elliott MP, Marie Bashir, Rob Rogers and Britt Coulson.