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January 31, 2013
Help when needed most
THE Naval Air Station Nowra,
HMAS Albatross, became a hub of
activity this summer as it supported
firefighting efforts in NSW.
With the civil community facing
catastrophic fire dangers across east-
ern Australia, Albatross hosted civil-
ian aircraft and provided aviation
fuel for those involved in bushfire
XO Albatross CMDR Mathew
Bradley said a high level of team-
work between agencies was needed
to support the firefighters.
“The support Albatross has pro-
vided is a real demonstration of
partnerships between Navy, Defence
Support Group and garrison support
services provided by contractors,”
“Not only have we been provid-
ing an airfield and associated sup-
port including aviation fuel for
aircraft, but we are also providing
accommodation for firefighters and
At its peak, Albatross provided
an airfield facility and refuelling ser-
vice for 12 helicopters, including
the Erickson Air-Crane as well as
fixed wing aircraft for personnel and
“During our busiest time,
Albatross was also providing accom-
modation for 156 rural fire service
personnel involved in combating
the bushfire threat,” CMDR Bradley
Albatross is ready to rapidly
react to changing circumstances and
respond to the needs of the rural fire
service for aviation fuel, accommo-
dation and airfield support, accord-
ing to CMDR Bradley.
“While we remain ready to react
to any developments, fortunately for
the community, we have not experi-
enced the catastrophic scenarios that
we have prepared for so far,” he said.
The ADF is working closely with
Emergency Management Australia
to provide assistance to the civil
community during the severe weath-
Two 816SQN Seahawks are on
standby to assist bushfire fighting
efforts if required.
The aircraft and crews are capa-
ble of conducting water bombing
operations using an underslung
‘bambi-bucket’ and polished up
their firefighting skills with training
Two RAAF C-17 Globemasters
were flown to Tasmania and trans-
ported 20-tonne generators after
bushfires destroyed power grids.
RAAF Bases Wagga,
Williamtown and Richmond and
Anglesea Barracks also played host
to firefighters and vehicles.
In Tasmania, ADF personnel
formed sweep teams to assess dam-
age and find property owners in
bushfire ravaged areas.
Turn to the centre for a look back at the
devastating 2003 Canberra bushfires.
TAKE FLIGHT: An
lifts a load of water
in a ‘bambi-bucket’
from Denjera Dam
training. Inset, LCDR
Shane Firkin, the
speaks to Bruce Davis
of the NSW Rural Fire
Photos: LSIS Yuri Ramsey
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