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The largest of the air assets is the Mc Donnell Douglas DC-10 or ‘Bomber 910’.The modification of a civilian airliner into a firebomber was not something that happened over night.

Fighting these fires takes a vast mix of ground appliances, people and aerial assets that work together to protect the farms, houses, animals and people in their hour of need.Aviation Spotters Online have been following these aerial fire fighting machines and monitoring the increasing numbers of varying types which are here this season.Individual States and Territories are responsible for the management and overseeing of fires and emergencies.The Australian Government, in conjunction with the States and Territories, established the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) in 2003, after a series of very serious fires, to aid the coordination and procurement of the fire fighting aircraft fleet.10 Tanker have more DC-10s in storage able to be converted should the demand rise.‘Bomber 910’ has a very sparse interior now, the cabin fittings being mostly removed which saves in weight.

This reduction in weight means the aircraft operates far below its Maximum Take Off (MTO) load even with the tank fitted and at a full load in the water tanks.This year as the Australian summer progressed we have all seen the nightly news reports and watched in horror and shock at the recent fires across this big brown land and witnessed the devastation that the fast-moving grass and bush fires can do and their massive impact on the towns they threaten and destroy.Most Australians are in awe at the fires ferocity and destructive power and we have grieved with those who have lost.Four years of research and development, and approximately million dollars spent to design and modify the aircraft to make it suitable for the role.The DC-10 has a tank that can hold a massive 43,900 litres of retardant.There are five tanks linked together, with aerodynamic fairings placed fore and aft.