Elbit Systems has been awarded an US$100 million
contract from the Israeli Ministry of Defense (IMOD) to procure
six new firefighting aircraft and operate the firefighting
squadron, which will consist of a total of fourteen aircraft,
including eight aircraft previously procured by Elbit Systems.
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 firefighting aircraft, manufactured by Air
Tractor, are single-engine aircraft, capable of carrying
approximately 3,000 liters of water and flying three hours without
Bezhalel (Butzi) Machlis, President and CEO of
Elbit Systems, said, “We are very proud to be selected for
this opportunity to harness our professional capabilities and vast
experience to the collective efforts of protecting Israel's
residents and natural landscape.”
The Elad firefighting squadron was founded four
years ago following the Mount Carmel forest fire and is named
after Elad Riben, a fire scout that was killed in that fire.
Since then, Elbit Systems has been cooperating with the IAF,
firefighting units, the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Nature
and Parks Authority in developing the squadron's operational
procedures and qualifying designated airstrips. The aircraft will
be flown by CHIM-NIR’s pilots, the project’s subcontractor.
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, providing a prompt and
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