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Noosa Black Hawk fire tank to make California debut

written by Adam Thorn | June 3, 2020

FT4000 fire tank
The innovative FT4000 could be a gamechanger in tackling American forest fires (Dave Soda)

A Noosa-designed and built fire tank for military Black Hawks will be used to tackle Californian forest fires in the coming months after it received official certification.

High-Performance Helicopters purchased the FT4500 from Helitak Firefighting Equipment and will fit it to its UH60A.

It comes six months after the business won a grant from the Palaszczuk government as part of its Ignite Ideas initiative.

In November 2019, Innovation Minister Kate Jones said, “This Queensland company has already got significant interest overseas. They’ve demonstrated their ability to scale up and create jobs locally as well as their potential to address a serious challenge here in Queensland.”

The tank has a capacity of 1,100 gallons, while a separate HP6000 Hover Pump can fill it up in around 46 seconds.


The design was the brainchild of aerial firefighting pilot and engineer, Jason Schellaars, who started the company in 2006.

Black Hawks make ideal firefighting aircraft because of their ability to fly in most conditions and at night.

It’s predicted the market for Helitak’s fire tank FT4500 will grow significantly as a number of earlier model Black Hawks reach the end of their military service.

“As severe fire danger grips parts of Queensland, it’s a timely reminder of the important work companies like Helitak are doing to defend communities and wildlife. That’s why we have a strong interest in supporting this project,” said Jones last year.

Helitak CEO Jason Schellaars said, “It is capable of dumping 4,500 litres of water in one drop or being dialled back so that not all of the water or retardant is dropped at once, which is very useful for controlling spot fires. By harnessing the release force of the Black Hawk bomb doors, we can drop water quicker and penetrate deeper into forest canopy.”

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Comment (1)

  • Jabiru Joe


    Go Australian innovation! Well done to these guys and best of luck for the future. If only our governments realised how good this country’s people are and got behind them with more than lip service.

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