KUCHING: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) is ready to conduct training for the Fire and Rescue Department personnel on how to operate the Bombardier CL-415 aircraft.
Its director-general, Maritime Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som said Sarawak – the largest state in the country with vast swathes of land inaccessible by road – must be equipped with at least one unit of such an aircraft.
Although the aircraft costs “over a hundred million” ringgit, it is necessary to equip the fire and rescue department with one unit to help put out massive forest fires.
“The forest areas are usually deep in the interiors, where there is (limited) road access and (limited) water, which is another challenge to the firemen.
“Hence, I think they need and deserve one (Bombardier CL-415 aircraft) and we are ready to provide all kind support and assistance. For instance, to train their pilots,” he said here today.
He said this at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base here today.
“The water bombing operation is quite effective in controlling wildfires. We managed to put out the fire in Sri Aman and Miri, which attributed to the worsening haze in Sarawak,” he said.
The two aircraft belonged to MMEA, he said, could focus on air surveillance activities on the country’s waters.
“Actually, our main duty is to safeguard the safety and security of our waters while putting out forest fires is secondary… So, if the fire and rescue department has its own aircraft, we can focus on our job,” he added.
The Bombardier CL-415 aircraft can scoop water from a river and drop it on areas that are ablaze.
The amphibious aircraft, based on the Canadair CL-215 and designed specifically for aerial firefighting, was previously built by Canada based Canadair and is now manufactured by Bombardier Inc.
The aircraft has a top speed of 359 km/h, with a range of 2,443 km and is currently used by Italy, Greece and France among others and costs US$31 million (RM129,691,600).[Source: “Sarawak Fire and Rescue Dept deserves its own Bombardier CL-415” published by NSTP]
Photo Credits: NSTP/ L.MANIMARAN