The Milestone Aviation Group Limited (“Milestone”), the global leader in helicopter leasing, has partnered with Australian fire-fighting equipment designer, Helitak Firefighting Equipment Pty Ltd (“Helitak”), to develop a new mission for the Sikorsky S-92A as a next-generation, multi-purpose fire-fighting platform.
As the largest owner of the S-92A, Milestone worked closely with Helitak to develop the innovative FT5000, a lightweight 4,000-liter (1,050 US gallons) collapsible belly-mounted fire suppression tank specifically designed for the helicopter. The first S-92A equipped with the FT5000 will be on static display at the upcoming HAI Heli-Expo in Dallas, Texas from March 8-10.
The S-92A is the global leader in high-capacity civilian passenger transport services as well as search and rescue programs, with over 1.8 million overall fleet hours. Its next generation avionics and dynamic cabin layout mean that in addition to dropping water, it will be capable of transporting crews of up to 19 firefighters to the front lines of wildfire events. The S-92A’s rear-loading cargo ramp and spacious cabin also offer operators the ability to quickly reconfigure the aircraft from passenger and equipment transfers to cargo hauling or medevac services.
Pat Sheedy, President & CEO, Milestone, said, “We are excited to partner with Helitak to adapt the dynamic capabilities of the S-92A for a new market. This turn-key firefighting platform is an industry-first and combines the versatility of the helicopter with Helitak’s innovative tank design.
“Milestone and Helitak’s expert teams worked closely together to craft a solution for the civilian-certified S-92A for immediate deployment into fire-fighting missions across the globe, and we are extremely proud of the results that have been achieved.”
Jason Schellaars, Founder & CEO, Helitak, said, “The certification of our FT5000 for the S-92A, in partnership with Milestone Aviation, is highly beneficial to our business model and will further enhance our reputation as a design team capable of overcoming the issues of fire tank construction and certification. This is something that will greatly benefit both our companies and make our tanks more readily accessible in the fight against wildfires.”
This new fire-fighting platform combines the unique capabilities of the S-92A with Helitak’s robust, carbon fibre FT5000 system, which can be installed or removed in minutes and is equipped with a hover pump that achieves a fill time of 48 seconds. The tank’s lightweight construction (325 kg / 715 lbs) also allows for greater liquid carrying capacity, which can be dropped in easily configurable patterns through integrated controls. This means that while on site at an event, the aircraft can support fire-fighting ground crews with continuous water or retardant drops.