The introduction of the Black Hawks has been delayed to 2022/23 due to their operational requirements. As an interim arrangement, the NSW Government has approved the NSW RFS purchasing two Bell 412 aircraft. These aircraft are scheduled to come online ahead of the next bush fire season (2020/21) noting the COVID-19 pandemic implications may affect the timing of this.
These aircraft were purchased within the provisions of the NSW Procurement Policy framework.
A supplier under the NSW Panel List was engaged to research and negotiate across the Australian and international markets, in keeping with free trade obligations and ensuring value for money.
In accordance with NSW RFS accreditation under Procurement NSW, an option existed to offer management of the helicopters to current providers (including both rotary and fixed wing).
Following a competitive Request for Quote process with current providers, Coulson Aviation Australia has been awarded the management of both Bell 412 aircraft and will remain in place for the remainder of the contract period. Importantly, Coulson Aviation Australia has now established a base in New South Wales and will be seeking to employ locally based pilots and support crew.