Official launch of the Kamov fire fighting helicopter in Australia
Melbourne (AVALON airshow) – 26 February 2013
Australia is known to be a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, which gives a picture of an island nation consisting mostly of flat desert.
But where the population of this country is concentrated – in the coastal areas where the bush is lush and the terrain is mountainous, access to fight rapidly moving wild bush fires is particularly difficult if not impossible for ground-based vehicles
Difficult and rugged terrain, particularly in our Alpine areas and to limited access to significant bodies of open water at times closer to the burning fires make fixed-wing fire fighting operations mostly impractical, which is one of the main reasons we have seen an increase in the number of larger helicopters deployed in fire fighting duties in Australia.
The Russian Kamov KA 32A comes to this country with a sound engineering pedigree and an enviable record for rugged reliability – justly earned in fire fighting operations in 30 countries around the world and now we trust, also in Australia.
As respective public bodies seek ever more economical and effective means of protecting our heritage and our hard-won assets, we see the selection of the Kamov KA32 as filling a particular niche, that is, filling the gap between the Bell medium-heavy lift (204/ 205/ 212 /UH-1) family of helicopters with around 1,400 Litre fire retardant capacity and the Ericson Skycrane S-64 with 10,000 Litres. The Kamov enters the field with a respectable 5,000 Litres fire retardant capacity and with a cruising speed of 146 Knots, which is rather fast for a helicopter of this type.
CASA’s involvement is a technical role that ensures the initial and ongoing airworthiness arrangements are satisfactory. To that end, pursuant to Civil Aviation Regulations, we have issued a Type Acceptance Certificate for Kamov helicopters to operate in Australia.
Taking our involvement further, CASA and the Interstate Aviation Committee have agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding specific to the type certification and continued airworthiness of the Kamov helicopter, which will ensure the exchange of safety information relevant to this helicopter between the two agencies.
In an age where we no longer blindly dump water at the suspected base of a fire at the end of a smoke source and where the formula for success is based on criteria such as man–machine safety and reliability, economic high load carrying capacity, low re-fill times, high cruise speeds and accurate delivery of expensive fire retardant, we expect that the Kamov KA32 will meet and hopefully exceed expectations.
We welcome the Kamov KA32 to Australian shores; to take its place among the growing fleet of fire fighting helicopters, on which an increasing level of reliance is being placed.