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Russian Helicopters launches Global Helicopter Firefighting Initiative

Russian Helicopters, part of state defence holding Oboronprom and a leading global designer and manufacturer of helicopters, has launched the Global Helicopter Firefighting Initiative (GHFI) to increase the use of fire-fighting helicopters specially equipped with the suspended fire-fighting systems (Bambi Buckets), water cannons and other fire-fighting equipment.

The GHFI will involve makers of fire-fighting systems and equipment for helicopters producing innovative technologies to qualitatively improve helicopter-based firefighting systems. Russian Helicopters plans to involve its own design bureaus in the search for new engineering solutions in the field.

The GHFI launch coincides with the Avalon Airshow 2013, Feb. 26 to March 3 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, where Russian Helicopters plans to demonstrate the Ka-32A11BC. Russian Helicopters sees its Ka-32A11BC, which can be equipped with various fire-fighting systems, as a key aircraft for the GHFI.

The helicopter is already popular in more than 30 countries, with 188 machines operating successfully in Russia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, China, Bulgaria, Austria, South Korea, Chile, Indonesia and Japan, among others. The Ka-32A11BC meets AP-29 standards and was awarded type certification in 2009 by the European Aviation Safety Agency. In December 2012 the helicopter received its flightworthiness certification in Australia. According to the Australian Helicopter Industry Association Ltd., it is believed this is the first time a Russian aircraft has been certified in Australia.

The Australian aviation regulator’s recognition of the helicopter’s capabilities opens up a new and promising market to Russian Helicopters to supply helicopters to the continent. Australia has battled fierce fires in 2013. Blazes engulfed Victoria and New South Wales in January, with dozens of homes damaged as well as the renowned Siding Springs observatory, home to Australia’s largest optical telescope. The fires came close to a military base near Sydney that houses a large weapons store.

Russian Helicopters said its Ka-32A11BC can tackle virtually all types of fires both on the ground and in high-rise buildings by deploying a collapsible Bambi Bucket and water cannon. Additionally, coaxial rotors make the Ka-32A11BC able to execute difficult maneuvers with a high degree of accuracy and hover with great stability even in turbulent atmospheric conditions.

Russian Helicopters cited the growing threat of fires around the world, which cause enormous physical and economic damage in numerous countries every year, as the driving motivation behind the GHFI. "The GHFI program will implement one of the missions of Russian Helicopters, which is to combat this threat,” the company said.


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