December 13, 2017 – Sikorsky announced the delivery of two S-70i Black Hawk helicopters to the County of Los Angeles Fire Department. These S-70i Black Hawk helicopters will then be modified by a specialist outfitter in 2018 to the Firehawk configuration. The S-70i’s were ordered in a baseline configuration which when compared to the S-70A model, the S-70i aircraft will feature wide chord rotor blades for enhanced lift, a stronger airframe, a digital glass cockpit with flight management system for enhanced situation awareness, and a cockpit voice and flight data recorder. An Integrated Vehicle Health Management system will monitor the aircraft’s operational health. Among improved safety features, the S-70i aircraft includes a terrain and obstacle avoidance system that alerts aircrew to the proximity of potential hazards on the ground.
“This acquisition supplements our county’s potent aerial firefighting arsenal and our ability to knock down wildfires to protect life and property,” said LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger. “The Firehawk provides a very effective initial attack platform to battle fires along with multi-mission capability for alternate needs including EMS and search and rescue.”
Firehawk helicopters perform aerial firefighting operations and also can plan missions and direct other firefighting aircraft along with providing emergency medical service transport along with search and rescue and logistic support. During the Firehawk conversion, a one thousand gallon (3,785 liter) water tank will be added along with extended landing gear to accommodate the underbelly addition. Additionally, a single pilot cockpit layout will be installed along with a medical interior for the multiple roles the helicopter will perform. These Firehawks will join L.A. County’s fleet of three Firehawks.
“We are very happy to take delivery of these two new Firehawk aircraft,” said Thomas Ewald, deputy fire chief of L.A. County’s Fire Department’s Air and Wildland Division. “With the recent catastrophic wildland fires in L.A. and the Southern California region, the need for additional effective firefighting resources, such as the S-70i Firehawk, is readily apparent. These two additional aircraft will enhance our existing fleet and strengthen both our day and night aerial firefighting capability, ultimately improving our ability to protect the lives and property of our citizens.”
“The Firehawk helicopter is born from an S-70i Black Hawk because of its proven and robust military design, which enables it to endure the enormous physical stresses required to drop 1,000 gallons of water multiple times a day on the fire line,” said Dan Schultz, president of Sikorsky. “The advanced Firehawk platform is a third generation Black Hawk with increased engine power, speed, maneuverability, higher altitude operations and improved mission availability. We stand behind L.A. County and will continue to support them during their critical missions, ensuring they continue to save untold lives and properties with our Sikorsky products.”
Sikorsky supports the critical mission of the L.A. Country Fire Department with an all-new airframe of the S-70i Black Hawk aircraft, which are available direct from Sikorsky in the U.S. Customers can order aircraft with mission sets and features customized to specific preferences. The L.A. County Fire Department was the first municipal organization to purchase the Firehawk in December 2000.
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