NSW-based Air Affairs Australia has supported the ongoing fire fighting effort, using airborne intelligence gathering scanners to support civilian fire fighters and the Australian Defence Force’s response.
Air Affairs Australia has provided airborne bushfire reconnaissance services throughout Australia since 1994. Since it first demonstrated the capability in the summer of 1994-95, the service has been used extensively in this unique role.
This high-tech "eye in the sky" keeps watch, working around the clock to provide critical fire intelligence imagery and mapping data to fire agencies and the ADF as they respond to the bushfires spread around the nation.
This data provides an essential intelligence capability to assist incident management teams to plan and deploy tactical firefighting assets, 24 hours a day. So far this season, Air Affairs aircraft have scanned equivalent to 50 per cent of the total area of Australia.
Chris Sievers, chief executive of Air Affairs Australia, said, "It is personally inspiring to see the significant efforts our crew and staff undertake every year to provide and deliver this important service in a challenging environment.
"We are proud to support our firefighting agency customers in their critically important efforts to protect life and property. Firescan is an important part of our business, which we committed to 25 years ago with a vision of one day achieving a national and international service."
Established as a crucial element in bushfire intelligence gathering, Firescan captures line scan imagery of bushfire activity, delivered during both day and night-time flight operations, providing imaging of the ground and clearly defining active fire and burnt terrain through dense smoke.
"The Air Affairs team was established using aerial bushfire surveillance experts which I am extremely proud of. We must now grow together with the fire agencies to meet evolving environmental challenges, to make certain we continue to contribute to the community that relies so much on us," Sievers said.
With many of these fast moving bushfires, the need for rapid wide-area fire intelligence is logistically critical in supporting ground fire-fighting crews. The service also allows for monitoring remote area bushfires. Images are transmitted directly from the aircraft via satellite, to operation centres, for near real-time utilisation.
"We are committed to work with governments, both state and federal, to contribute our part of an evolving national aerial firefighting fleet," Sievers added.
Air Affairs Australia is an innovative aviation flight operations and engineering based company.
Established in 1995 and 100 per cent Australian owned, Air Affairs Australia is a leader in the provision of specialised airborne and engineering services to defence forces, government departments and multinational companies in Australia and around the world.
It owns and operates a fleet of special mission 30 and 60 series Learjet and King Air aircraft, providing specialised air training support services to the Australian Defence Force.