Six years after a firefighting air squadron was established within the Israeli air force, responsibility for the division is to be handed over to the police force’s aerial unit.

The squadron has carried out some 12,000 firefighting sorties since a lethal forest fire in northern Israel was the catalyst for its establishment.

The first response of the squadron under police command will be performed by the Air Tractor AT-802F, while the police aerial unit helicopters will respond to smaller fires.

Israeli AT-802F Air Tractor

Air Tractor

As previously reported by FlightGlobal, the Israeli police's aerial unit will soon receive new helicopters.

Last year, Elbit Systems was awarded a contract, valued at approximately $115 million, to supply leasing and maintenance services for the Israeli police force squadron.

Delivery of four Airbus Helicopters H125s and two H145s to replace the incumbent Bell Helicopter 206 fleet is planned for November.

Elbit Systems, which will operate the helicopters under a private finance initiative contract, is already operating this type of contract with the Israeli defence forces and in a number of other countries around the world.