Kestrel Aviation, one of Australia’s largest fire contractors announced today that in partnership with Florida based Firehawk Helicopters, the company was bringing ‘Firehawk 1″ online. The aircraft is a UH-60A helicopter fitted with an internal tank that carries up to 3500 liters/924 Gallons per fill.

Helitak 125, a UH-60A ‘Firehawk’ fills a load in Mangalore. Image courtesy of Dave Sodestrom/Aviation Spotters Online.

Kestrel Aviation demonstrated the aircraft at their Mangalore base in Victoria yesterday during a media event where the aircraft did several practice drops using the firehawk developed ‘hawktank’ that is now an FAA STC certified tank for use in firefighting missions around the world.
The company has been in partnership with Firehawk Helicopters for several years, with Firehawk 1 coming online this year as the first aircraft with an internal tank. Firehawk 1 will carry the designation ‘Helitak 125 when working on fires in Australia and will operate with a two man crew to operate the helicopter during fire season. The hawktank is able to be filled in approximately one minute, dramatically increasing its effectiveness in both capacities versus a bucket and time required between drops on fires.

The Kestrel Aviation/Firehawk Helicopters UH-60 Firehawk is fitted with an internal tank to fight fires that can be filled in under a minute. Photo by Dave Sodestrom/Aviation Spotters Online