Aussie Bushfires.

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The Royal Commission into Natural disaster response, launched in the aftermath of the 2019/20 Bushfires handed down its 80 findings this week, among the recommendations include a National Fleet of aerial Firefighting Aircraft
Let's see how far that can go in reality. Politicians and lawyers think they can just buy them and sit them on the tarmac for 8 months a year, then get a handy pilot from the airlines or air force to fly them.

Better to have a small core, and a big lease pool from elsewhere

Shane
 
Let's see how far that can go in reality. Politicians and lawyers think they can just buy them and sit them on the tarmac for 8 months a year, then get a handy pilot from the airlines or air force to fly them.

Better to have a small core, and a big lease pool from elsewhere

Shane
I have family in Winnipeg and at the airport you always see a number of yellow and red Manitoba Fire Fighting Aircraft (Mix of Canadair/Bombardier 215 Article: Gordon Watt and the Manitoba Water Bombers - Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and 415 aircraft).
  • Some advertising about what Manitoba currently does tomaintain their fleet Manitoba Wildfire Suppression Services - Babcock - 7 dedicated aircraft with 96% availability
  • Price of the new Bomardier 415 is USD37m. Not sure of maintenance but we would probably outsource this and it is probably low. The technology is not too complex and well understood.
    • A fleet of say 20 aircraft should cost no more than AUD500m and maintenance should be low. Yes, I know what is the need before giving a solution but the cost should be affordable.
  • Population of Manitoba is around 1.5 million people. They can afford 7 aircraft, what could we afford if we bought similar?
    • Yes, Manitoba has a lot more accessable reliable water sources (lots of it is water) and maybe the Canadair aircraft isn't the best for the Australian environment. I live in Canberra and saw the Very Large leased Tankers in action and a smaller number of these or something completely different might be better suited.
  • Nonetheless, a soveriegn capability is not out of reach and if we kill fires before they get out of control, we reduce the cost to the community of bushfires.
    • I am sure CSIRO and others have or could produce the economic modelling of various types of intervention.
  • The bush fire window appears to be increasing as temperatures increase. So not just four months. Bushfires tend to impact various parts of Australia at various times. Romsey Australia Fire Map
    • Resources required for more than four months. Resources should positioned in the likely risk areas as indicated.
 
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hauritz

Well-Known Member
Let's see how far that can go in reality. Politicians and lawyers think they can just buy them and sit them on the tarmac for 8 months a year, then get a handy pilot from the airlines or air force to fly them.

Better to have a small core, and a big lease pool from elsewhere

Shane
I remember reading that the biggest problem were fires that started in remote areas. They were often not quickly detected and of course were difficult to access. These are the fires that generally ended up raging out of control. They did mention Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in the report but they seemed pretty dismissive describing the system as immature. I found that a little surprising. I would have thought a UAV with heat sensors would have been invaluable in quickly detecting remote blazes.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I have family in Winnipeg and at the airport you always see a number of yellow and red Manitoba Fire Fighting Aircraft (Mix of Canadair/Bombardier 215 Article: Gordon Watt and the Manitoba Water Bombers - Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada and 415 aircraft).
  • Some advertising about what Manitoba currently does tomaintain their fleet Manitoba Wildfire Suppression Services - Babcock - 7 dedicated aircraft with 96% availability
  • Price of the new Bomardier 415 is USD37m. Not sure of maintenance but we would probably outsource this and it is probably low. The technology is not too complex and well understood.
    • A fleet of say 20 aircraft should cost no more than AUD500m and maintenance should be low. Yes, I know what is the need before giving a solution but the cost should be affordable.
  • Population of Manitoba is around 1.5 million people. They can afford 7 aircraft, what could we afford if we bought similar?
    • Yes, Manitoba has a lot more accessable reliable water sources (lots of it is water) and maybe the Canadair aircraft isn't the best for the Australian environment. I live in Canberra and saw the Very Large leased Tankers in action and a smaller number of these or something completely different might be better suited.
  • Nonetheless, a soveriegn capability is not out of reach and if we kill fires before they get out of control, we reduce the cost to the community of bushfires.
    • I am sure CSIRO and others have or could produce the economic modelling of various types of intervention.
  • The bush fire window appears to be increasing as temperatures increase. So not just four months. Bushfires tend to impact various parts of Australia at various times. Romsey Australia Fire Map
    • Resources required for more than four months. Resources should positioned in the likely risk areas as indicated.
Several Canadian provinces have water bombers and helicopters under contract and these assets can be moved to other provinces as fire seasons vary somewhat. This might reduce costs somewhat. This may or may not be viable for Australian states. Assets also come from and go to the US as well.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Several Canadian provinces have water bombers and helicopters under contract and these assets can be moved to other provinces as fire seasons vary somewhat. This might reduce costs somewhat. This may or may not be viable for Australian states. Assets also come from and go to the US as well.
This is actually what we do now.

During the fires we had any number of smart alec journalists and politicians asking why we don't have a couple of dozen fire fighting aircraft of our own rather than just a few, but at the time cost and practicality wasn't considered to be an argument.

oldsig
 
This is actually what we do now.

During the fires we had any number of smart alec journalists and politicians asking why we don't have a couple of dozen fire fighting aircraft of our own rather than just a few, but at the time cost and practicality wasn't considered to be an argument.

oldsig
This are just three of 80 recommendations.
Recommendation 8.1 A sovereign aerial firefighting capability Australian, state and territory governments should develop an Australian-based and registered national aerial firefighting capability, to be tasked according to greatest national need. This capability should include:
(1) a modest, very large air tanker/large air tanker, and Type-1 helicopter capability, including supporting infrastructure, aircrew and aviation support personnel, and​
(2) any other aerial firefighting capabilities (eg Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), line-scanning, transport, and logistics) that would benefit from a nationally coordinated approach.​

Recommendation 8.2 Research and evaluation into aerial firefighting Australian, state and territory governments should support ongoing research and evaluation into aerial firefighting. This research and evaluation should include: (1) assessing the specific capability needs of states and territories, and (2) exploring the most effective aerial firefighting strategies.

Recommendation 8.3 Developing the aerial firefighting industry’s capability Australian, state and territory governments should adopt procurement and contracting strategies that support and develop a broader Australian-based sovereign aerial firefighting industry.

Cost/benefit analysis is needed of course. The Chairman Air Chief Marshal Binskin ex- Chief of Air Force, VCDF and Chief of Defence Force certainly has the background to assess what aerial fire fighting capability is required and how it could be delivered. The Committee has recomended some sovereign capability be provided. This doesn't rule out additional surge capability in peak times. And let's not ovelook the ADF is not a fire fighting service:

8.57 The ADF does not directly combat bushfires, but the assistance it provides to the states and territories is an important component of the response to, and recovery from, bushfires and other natural disasters.
Some of the bush fire reporting was "this is a war zone!" and "where is Defence Force?". The ADF is NOT a fire service and should NOT be tasked with fire fighting activities beyond it's current fire fighting capability.
 
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