Aircraft boosts bush firefighting capability

Large Air Tanker Marie Bashir at RAAF Base Richmond

It is the first time NSW will have an LAT ready to respond to bushfires at any time and across the State.In previous years, LATs have been contracted from the United States during the warmer months.

The LAT 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 LAT 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 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 NSW,” she said.

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

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