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Aussie state to get new firefighting jet

MELBOURNE, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Australia plans to add a multimillion-dollar water-bomber jet to its firefighting fleet to prepare for the summer fire season, authorities announced.

Facing forecasts of a hot summer, Victoria state Premiere John Brumby will obtain Australia's first firefighting jet lease, the Melbourne Herald Sun reported Friday.

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The jet, either a modified Boeing 747 or Douglas DC-10 jumbo, will be able to reach anywhere in the state in 45 minutes and drop fire retardant on almost a mile of fire line in one drop, state officials said. The lease for a water bomber that size could cost $10 million a season.

"This will be another asset as we leave no stone unturned to help deliver on our goal of making Victoria as fire safe and as fire ready as possible," state Emergency Services Minister Bob Cameron said.

Testing of a selected aircraft is set for January for use during the worst Australian summer heat, the Herald Sun reported.

Retrofitting an existing airport to cater to the new aircraft's size would also be an issue, the Herald Sun reported.

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