The companies supplying the four additional large air tankers that will be mobilizing to help the firefighters in Australia have been identified. 10 Tanker Air Carrier will deploy two DC10s, Tanker 912 and Tanker 914 will be deploying. Erickson Aerotankers will deploy two MD-87s, Tankers 102 and Tanker 103. One of the DC-10s, T-912 is expected to arrive in Australia on January 15 to be followed by Tanker 914 around January 25 after their heavy maintenance is wrapped up. Tanker 911 is currently in Australia.
This additional surge capacity was announced by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on January 4, saying $20 million would be provided for leasing four more large air tankers as supplementary to the normal fleet for the current season only. Mr. Morrison also said 3,000 Australian Defense Force reservists would be brought in to help with bushfire recovery efforts.
Contracts were already in place in Australia for four large privately owned large air tankers and nine large Type 1 helicopters. In addition they have the 737 that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service purchased earlier this year. A C-130Q and a DC-10 were added in November when it became painfully obvious that the 2019/2020 bushfire season was going to be much busier than average. The DC-10s and the MD-87s that will be there in a matter of days will bring the Aussie large air tanker fleet up to 11 for this fire season.
Before 2010 Australia’s air tanker fleet consisted almost entirely of single engine air tankers. That year they began trials of large and very large air tankers, including a DC-10.