Sikorsky, Kaan Air Australia and StarFlight Australia has signed an agreement to operate refurbished Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for fire-fighting missions in Australia.
The agreement worth up to AUD $63 million will bring 10 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters into Australia, with options for an additional 10 aircraft from early next year.
The Black Hawks will be brought up to 'as new' condition and repurposed specifically for aerial firebombing operations during future bushfire seasons around Australia and New Zealand and for year-round emergency services and disaster relief work.
The aircraft will be refurbished and maintained in Brisbane by Sikorsky. StarFlight Australia will be the operator of the aircraft.
The Black Hawks will undergo three months of extensive refurbishment, including new high performance engines, upgraded gear boxes, installation of Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System (HTAWS) and a general overhaul which will be carried out by Sikorsky at its Pinkenba facility in Brisbane.
The initial 10 Black Hawk helicopters have been hand-picked by Sikorsky for their suitability in aerial firebombing and external heavy load lifting ability, and will be made available by StarFlight to assist emergency services and fire agencies in bushfires and natural disasters across the country.