The LA County Fire Department has ordered two S-70i Black Hawk helicopters which will be modified to Firehawk configuration for aerial firefighting.
The LA County Fire helicopters will also undertake command and control of other firefighting aircraft, emergency medical services transport, search and rescue and logistics support.
Once modified by a specialist outfitter in 2018 with a 1,000-gal (3,785 litre) water tank, extended landing gear, single pilot cockpit layout and a medically-equipped interior, the new aircraft will increase to five the LA County Fire Department Firehawk fleet.
LA County Fire first purchased the Firehawk in December 2000.
Thomas Ewald, assistant fire chief of LA County’s Air and Wildland Division, said: “Nothing close compares with the Firehawk. No other aircraft does all five missions as well.
“The Firehawk has repeatedly proven its reliability and ruggedness. The stresses we place on the aircraft when we take on and then aggressively release 8,000 pounds of water multiple times a day are far more than what its military variant might do in normal operations at maximum gross weight.”