Three Sikorsky S-70 FIREHAWK helicopters are now in service on the U.S. west coast, two with LA County and a third with the U.S. Army National Guard in Oregon. The agile multi-mission aircraft have proved themselves time and again in emergency service. The FIREHAWK's payload ability allows it to carry water and fire suppressant in its 1,000-gallon tank to the fire scene. It also can carry crews, fuel and equipment to support the operation.
"The acquisition of another Sikorsky FIREHAWK is a momentous step forward, given the payload capacity, the fully redundant nature of its twin engines, and its 1,000 gallon tank capacity for dropping water on fast-moving brush fires," said Jeff Pino, Sikorsky senior vice president for business development. "This should give our customer a bigger advantage in gaining the upper hand over quick-spreading fires."
Los Angeles County took delivery of its first two FIREHAWKs in 2001 to serve emergency needs in the sprawling metro area, the first local government agency to purchase the aircraft. The FIREHAWKs provide the county with advanced technology fire-fighting and paramedic capabilities. Acquisition of the of the third aircraft includes support equipment, training, emergency medical service interiors, mission avionics, water tanks and extended landing gear.
Sikorsky's first S-70 FIREHAWK, a new UH-60L helicopter, is serving the U.S. Army National Guard in Oregon. Congress has funded two more UH-60L FIREHAWK aircraft, one each for Army National Guard units in California and Florida. Three conversion kits have also been appropriated.
The advantages of the FIREHAWK are its ability to drop fire suppressant accurately over the target area, its rapid transit to and from the water source and its flexible options for refilling the water tank. The net effect is a greater amount of gallons per hour compared to other delivery means.
The helicopter can refill its 1,000-gallon tank in two ways. The aircraft can land next to a water source while water is pumped aboard via a connector on the side of the tank. Or the helicopter can hover over a water source and water can be pumped aboard through a snorkel hose in one minute.
Additionally, the FIREHAWK features year-round multi-mission emergency response capabilities for high altitude hoist work and swift water rescue. Other missions the FIREHAWK is well suited for include emergency medical evacuation of patients on litters and transport of Federal Emergency Management Agency rescue teams and their equipment for earthquake disaster response. The aircraft are equipped with rescue hoists.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing and service. Sikorsky is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corporation (NYSE:UTX), of Hartford, Conn., which provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.