Victoria’s two large air tankers have been called into service in South Australia as part of the state’s efforts to contain bushfires north-east of Adelaide.
The two aircraft – a Lockheed C-130Q Hercules and an Avro RJ85 – were operating out of RAAF Base Edinburgh. The RAAF has provided logistics support to the firefighting effort.
SA Premier Jay Weatherill told reporters on Tuesday up to 38 homes and 125 outhouses had been destroyed.
The Hercules has a capacity of 12,500 litres, while a fully loaded RJ had the ability to carry 13,250 litres, according to a fact sheet from Victoria’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries. Both aircraft arrived in Australia in mid-December from North America and are contracted for a 12-week period over summer. The two large air tankers are based at Avalon Airport and part of Victoria’s 46-strong firefighting aircraft fleet for this bushfire season.
It was the first time both these aircraft have worked in the Southern Hemisphere, Bryan Rees from the Aviation Services Unit of Victoria’s Department of Environment and Primary Industries said.
“They are relatively new to fire bombing,” Rees said. “They are being called the next generation of air tankers.”