AMSL Aero secures Australian government support for pioneering zero-emission firefighting aircraft


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Australian zero-emission aircraft Vertiia to transform bushfire fighting with government backing

AMSL Aero, an Australian zero-emission aircraft designer and manufacturer, has announced its receipt of A$3 million in funding from the Australian Government through the Cooperative Research Centres’ Projects program.

This investment is set to accelerate the development of Vertiia, a cutting-edge electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft, for autonomous bushfire fighting operations.

The funding will enable AMSL Aero to develop a remotely piloted version of Vertiia, acclaimed as the world’s most efficient long-range, zero-emission VTOL aircraft.

This version is designed to spray preventative fire retardants and drop substantial volumes of water, enhancing firefighting efforts while ensuring the safety of firefighters, particularly during night operations.

Collaboration for innovation in firefighting aircraft

AMSL Aero plans to collaborate closely with its partners, including The University of Sydney, robotics leader Mission Systems, and Pay’s Air Service, a renowned aviation operator with extensive firefighting experience in Australia and Europe.

Together, they will focus on modifying Vertiia for low-cost, zero-emission firefighting, meeting stringent regulatory requirements, and conducting tests in regional Australia.

Max York, CEO of AMSL Aero, expressed gratitude for the support from the CRC and the Federal Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic: “We are honoured to have been selected for this grant.

We will develop a version of Vertiia that enables Rural Fire Service crews to prevent and put out fires remotely, using swarms of autonomous aircraft.

This high-tech flying bucket-brigade can operate day and night, radically improving crew safety and significantly reducing fatigue.”

Addressing the challenges of climate change and aerial firefighting

Andrew Moore, Co-Founder & Chief Engineer of AMSL Aero, highlighted the increasing global demand for aerial firefighting, exacerbated by climate change: “Aerial firefighting is effective, yet current limitations such as daylight-only operations and the hazards of operating in congested and smoky conditions, present significant challenges.

“We are committed to working with our partners to enhance safety, availability, scalability, and effectiveness of aerial firefighting operations.”

Ross Pay, Managing Director of Pays Air Service, shared his insights on the collaboration: “The remotely piloted Vertiia will complement our operations, providing continuous support to ground firefighters, especially during reload times and enabling operations in challenging conditions and at night.”

IFSJ Comment

The Australian Government’s support for AMSL Aero’s Vertiia project marks a significant advancement in the fight against bushfires.

By leveraging zero-emission technology and autonomous operations, this initiative promises to enhance the efficiency and safety of bushfire fighting efforts.

The collaboration between AMSL Aero and its partners embodies an innovative approach to addressing the challenges posed by climate change and the increasing demand for effective firefighting solutions.

As the project progresses, it could set a precedent for future advancements in emergency response and environmental conservation efforts globally.

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