An aerial firefighting capability has recently been established at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

In December 2021, Senior Australian Defence Force Officer, Air Commodore Ross Bender, officially recognised the combined efforts of No. 24 Squadron, Estate and Infrastructure Group, Ventia and the South Australian Country Fire Service in establishing a high-risk weather season firefighting pad at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

“The establishment of the high-risk weather season firefighting pad will enable the Country Fire Service to rapidly conduct aerial firefighting operations from RAAF Base Edinburgh,” Air Commodore Bender said.

“It will serve as a significant capability for the Country Fire Service and will enable rapid response and support to not only the community of South Australia but will also reach into Victoria.”

Facilitated by No. 24 Squadron, the establishment of the aerial firefighting pad will be used by the Country Fire Service in readiness to support future high-risk weather seasons.

The Retardant and Suppressant Computerised Automated Loading project completed on base at RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia. Photo: Leading Aircraftman Stewart Gould

South Australian Country Fire Service state operations planning officer Ryan Pym said the new Retardant and Suppressant Computerised Automated Loading system (RASCAL) would provide a significant capability boost to the South Australian Country Fire Service.

“Due to this facility, the South Australian Country Fire Service is now completely self-sufficient when it comes to loading large air tankers when they are needed to support firefighting operations around the state,” Mr Pym said. 

“The RASCAL system at RAAF Base Edinburgh is considered to be the most modern and high-tech large air tanker loading base in Australia.

“This capability will provide significant support to South Australia and Victoria, including surrounding areas, in providing a quick response for fighting fires.”

The Country Fire Service firefighting capability at RAAF Base Edinburgh operates under a memorandum of understanding, usually between the months of November to April, and is between the Australian Government and the SA Government. 

This capability underpins the memorandum of understanding between the Country Fire Service and Australian Government, while strengthening the relationship between No. 24 Squadron and RAAF Base Edinburgh, No. 24 Squadron and the Country Fire Service.

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