Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Hon Stephen Dawson MLC

Minister for Emergency Services; Innovation and the Digital Economy; Medical Research; Volunteering

    National Large Air Tanker arrives to bolster aerial resources

    22/12/2022 9:00 AM
    • Boeing 737 Fireliner becomes the second Large Air Tanker (LAT) to arrive in WA
    • The aircraft will be based alongside WA's C130 Hercules LAT in Busselton for the beginning of the fire season
    • State's aerial firefighting fleet launched today

    A second Large Air Tanker (LAT) has jetted into Western Australia, poised to provide vital firefighting support as the risk of dangerous bushfires begins to increase.


    The Commonwealth-funded National LAT – a Boeing 737 Fireliner used to fight Californian wildfires in North America – is expected to be based in WA during the high-threat season – subject to major incidents interstate.


    The aircraft was secured through the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council National Resource Sharing Centre.


    During the 2021-22 bushfire season the LAT was stationed in WA for the duration of the State's bushfire season.


    The State Government will fund the operational costs for the duration of its deployment in WA.

    Its arrival means WA's entire aerial fleet – comprising of 36 rotary and fixed-wing suppression, supervision, and aerial intelligence aircraft – is now online.


    The Boeing 737 Fireliner LAT – nicknamed Phoenix – weighs more than 62,000 kilograms, has a loaded cruising speed of nearly 800 kilometres per hour, and can carry 15,000 litres of fire suppressants.


    It joins the C130 Hercules LAT at Busselton-Margaret River Airport in the South-West.


    Both the Boeing 737 and C130 Hercules provided vital support during the bushfire that threatened Cervantes and Jurien Bay last week, completing drops of fire suppressant to strengthen containment lines and support crews on the ground.


    The aerial fleet is jointly managed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions.


    Comments attributed to Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson:


    "Bushfires are an inevitable part of the Western Australian summer – and for more than 20 years the State's aerial fleet has been protecting life and property from above.


    "We are very pleased to have a second Large Air Tanker join the fleet. These aircraft were used a number of times to great effect last bushfire season.


    "We welcome the Boeing 737 Fireliner – Phoenix – to Western Australia, where it will be ready for rapid deployment when bushfires strike."


    Comments attributed to Federal Acting Minister for Emergency Management Catherine King:


    "Australia's aerial firefighting capability will be significantly boosted by a National Large Air Tanker – funded by the Federal Government – which will be based in WA for the start of the summer bushfire season.


    "Phoenix is a highly customised Boeing 737 – able to reach anywhere in the country within hours and drop 15,000 litres of fire-retardant or water.


    "We know being prepared with aerial firefighting capability to support ground crews can make all the difference when communities are under threat.


    "Phoenix can do just that – not only in the edges of urban areas, but remote and difficult-to-reach locations – and can be deployed across the country to wherever it is needed, whenever it is needed."


    Comments attributed to Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM:


    "Along with our dedicated career and volunteer personnel – the presence of two Large Air Tankers ensure we have a strong arsenal of resources for another busy bushfire season.


    "Although the State's aerial fleet has never been stronger, fire safety is a shared responsibility – and we need the community to be adequately prepared.


    "All Western Australians can help out by creating, or updating their bushfire plan on the DFES My Bushfire Plan app or website – it could save your life."


    Minister's office - 6552 5800