The Israeli Ministry of Defence is increasing its privatised airborne Elad fire-fighting squadron. Elbit Systems got an order for about 100 million US dollars on 5 January 2015 to procure six additional AirTractor AT-802Fs.
The new aircraft will join the eight earlier provided by Elbit, bringing the squadron to 14 aircraft in total. The contract, to be performed over an eight-year period, also covers flight hours, infrastructure upgrade, maintenance, airstrip operation, handling of fire retardants and other aspects of operating the squadron.
The AT-802Fs are capable of carrying approximately 792 US gallons (3,000 litres) of water and fly about three hours on a fuel tank. The aircraft will be flown by CHIM-NIR’s pilots, the project’s subcontractor.
The Elad firefighting squadron was founded four years ago following the Mount Carmel forest fire and is named after Elad Riben, the fire scout that was killed in this fire. Since its inauguration in 2011, the firefighting squadron has performed over 4,600 missions, accumulated over 2,500 flight hours and has helped extinguish over 500 potentially destructive fires across the country.
Source: Elbit Systems