SIKORSKY ANNOUNCED on July 16, 2018, that it has delivered an S-70 Black Hawk to the City of San Diego Fire- Rescue Department.
The new helicopter will be modified to Firehawk configuration by a third party during 2019, but in the interim it will be used in standard Black Hawk configuration by the department for aerial fireighting duties later this year, using an 850 US gallon (3,218 litre) internal tank.
The Firehawk configuration will include a 1,000 US gallon (3,785 litre) belly tank, retractable snorkel, extended landing gear and a rescue hoist.
At the delivery ceremony on June 27 at Sikorsky’s facility in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, San Diego Fire-Rescue Air Operations Chief, Chuck Macfarland, said: “The Black Hawk is a game changer in its primary role of ire suppression in support of ground fireighting crews.”
He added: “Never before has the City of San Diego operated as large and as powerful a helicopter as the Black Hawk, which can accurately place almost three times more water on a wildland ire in a single drop than our current fleet. By hitting wildland fires aggressively in their initial stage, we will be able to keep fires small.”
In addition to its primary role of fighting wildland fires, the S-70 will also be used to insert medics into a disaster area and hoist patients into the cabin for treatment en route to medical facilities.
San Diego is the second city in Southern California to procure the S-70 in Firehawk coniguration. In December 2017, the Los Angeles County Fire Department acquired two S-70is to add to its existing fleet of three Firehawk helicopters and, in May 2017, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) selected the type to replace older helicopters in its mixed fleet.