Due to the trend of climate change, which promises that Slovenia will be increasingly threatened by wildfires, the Ministry of Defense has prepared a program to establish a dedicated capacity to support aerial firefighting. The purchase of a medium-heavy helicopter and a maximum of six smaller aircraft with the capacity to dump 3,000 liters of water is expected, they announced.
The ministry is still considering whether new or used aircraft will be purchased for this purpose. At the request of the European Commission, the country has expressed its interest in purchasing a medium-heavy helicopter through the EU RescEU – AFFF (Aerial Forest Firefighting) mechanism, which will be equipped with a 3,000-liter fire extinguisher bag for firefighting purposes.
The helicopter will primarily be used for aerial firefighting as part of the permanent capabilities of RescEU – AFFF, and outside the fire season it will be used for the implementation of numerous protection and rescue tasks and assistance at the national level, the ministry explains.
As part of this permanent capacity, Slovenia also expressed an interest in leasing two Airtractor AT-802F Fire Boss amphibious aircraft, which would be carried out according to the “wet lease” system, i.e. together with the crew. These options are mostly co-financed by the European Commission and are primarily intended for international aid, so in this program they are considered as additional capacity in case of major fires in Slovenia, they announced.
Read more on this story at the Slovenian Post