Australian fire tank system to boost US firefighting efforts

21 Jul 2021

Australian aerial firefighting company Helitak will play an expanded role in helping fight fires in the US after receiving FAA certification for its FT4500 Black Hawk Fire Tank.

The FT4500 Black Hawk Fire Tank received certification after passing rigorous flight-testing and trials with High Performance Helicopters (HPH) in California.

HPH has been testing and operating the Helitak fire tanks with Black Hawk helicopters for two years. HPH President, Brad Bauder, says: ‘This tank is a game changer in the aerial firefighting space.’

The Helitak FT4500 Fire Tank can deliver water and retardant at high volume, faster and more accurately, making it a vital firefighting resource during the wildfire season in the US.

Australian-made firefighting technology

Helitak was founded by Jason Schellaars, a former helicopter firefighting pilot. The company designs and manufactures rotary aircraft fire suppression systems.

Helitak’s retractable tank system, designed by Schellaars, allows the aircraft to lift as much water as it is approved to lift. The FT4500 Fire Tank has a maximum volume of 4,500 litres (1,188 gallons). The tank can be refilled in less than a minute using the Helitak HP6000 Hover Pump.

Manufactured in Australia, the ‘plug and play’ underbelly tank can be installed or removed in less than 25 minutes. It does not require costly aircraft modifications and is the only external Black Hawk tank that does not need expensive landing gear extension.

Watch a video of the FT4500 Black Hawk Fire Tank in action.

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