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Mon, 31 July 2017

Kaan Air Australia to Import Black Hawk Helicopters for Firefighting and Disaster Relief

Kaan Air Australia, Sikorsky and StarFlight Australia have signed an agreement worth up to AU$63 million to bring 10 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters into Australia, with options for an additional 10 aircraft.

 The ten ex-US military Black Hawks will be imported into Australia early next year.

 The Black Hawks will 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.

Kaan Air Australia, Sikorsky and StarFlight Australia have signed an agreement worth up to AU$63 million to bring 10 Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters into Australia, with options for an additional 10 aircraft.

The aircraft will be refurbished and maintained in Brisbane by Sikorsky.

John Skeen, chief executive officer of Kaan Air Australia and StarFlight Australia, said the deal would assist emergency services in filling a significant gap within Australia’s firefighting and disaster relief resources.

“This is a game-changer for aviation in Australia. The purchase of 10 plus 10 optioned Black Hawks represents a significant milestone for the firebombing and disaster relief helicopter industry in Australia, particularly in terms of efficient rotary wing attack to reduce loss of life and property during bushfire events,” said Skeen. “The helicopters are being purchased by an Australian company, will be registered in Australia and most importantly, will be fully maintained and supported in Australia by the helicopter OEM Sikorsky and its supply chain commitment, helping to boost local jobs in the area and guaranteeing ongoing supply chain support of our Black Hawk fleet.”

Kaan Air is one of Europe’s leading helicopter utility operators and a renowned helicopter manufacturer (OEM) distributor for AgustaWestland and Russian Helicopters. It has significant operational experience in helicopter firefighting, off-shore and Air Medical Service businesses. In 2015 Kaan Air Australia established a joint venture under the StarFlight name with LifeFlight Australia.

Kaan Air Australia Chairman, Mr. Ferda Yildiz, said, “We are very happy to be able to take part and contribute to the helicopter firefighting and disaster relief effort within Australia and further strengthen our ties with a very distinguished OEM, Sikorsky/Lockheed Martin. We aim to expand this cooperation beyond Australia in other parts of the world in similar projects using the expertise of our Australian company.”

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.

 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.

StarFlight Australia will be the operator of the aircraft.

See other recent news regarding: Sikorsky, Kaan Air, Lockheed Martin, Australia, Black Hawk, Helicopters.

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