PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. aviation services company Erickson Air-Crane Inc. is supplying six aircraft to support Australia's National aerial Firefighting Center.
The contract for the heli-tankers is for three years and carries a total value of about $60 million. It also features an option for the supply of additional helicopters as needed.
Udo Rieder, chief executive officer of Erickson, said the deal is in partnership with Kestral Aviation, a charter aircraft company based in Massachusetts.
"Erickson has been saving lives and resources fighting fires in Australia for 16 years," he said. "This new contract represents an important continuation of our relationship with the NAFC, one of the world's leading practitioners of aerial firefighting.
"We're proud to maintain a deep and established presence in Australia with this contract, and believe that the NAFC's ongoing commitment to Erickson reflects our excellent track record, high standard of service, and cost-effective solution. Our newest partner in the region, Kestrel Aviation – with whom we're teaming to provide the full range of diversified aerial support – is an established helicopter company with deep experience fighting fire in the rugged Australian environment."
The helicopters will be stationed initially in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.
The S-64 Aircrane helicopters are equipped with the company's proprietary 2,650-gallon fire suppression system and a detachable water tank with multiple refill options.