NSW RFS night fire bombing trials - Phase 2 day time training

Night time aerial firefighting and emergency operations, including the use of night vision devices in helicopters, is a relatively new concept in Australia. NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) continues to develop a night time aviation capability for firefighting and support to other emergency operations.

As part of this capability development, NSW RFS and Coulson Aviation undertook a trial of a night-time aerial fire-bombing during the 2021/22 bush fire season, involving the NSW RFS owned Bell 412 Helicopter and Coulson Aviation owned CH47 Chinook (on National Aerial Firefighting Centre contract), utilising the current Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approvals held by Coulson Aviation.

There are 5 phases as part of the development and implementation. It is intended to have up to 6 Air Attack Supervisors (AAS) and 6 Airborne Systems Operators (ASO) undertake the program. Each NSW RFS AAS and ASO will progress through each implementation phase.


  • To develop operational capability of conducting night firebombing with a Bell 412 and CH47 helicopter by replicating night operations during day light to safely develop capability.
  • Validate and increase experience of the Bell 412 role in providing:
    • Aerial intelligence
    • Fire identification
    • Dip site identification
    • Hazard identification


For more information, visit the Defence Aircraft Noise website or call 1300 DEFENCE (1300 333 362).

Flying schedule

  • RAAF Base Richmond Sgt Mess Training Room
  • 4 days allocated to accommodate weather variables and Pilot, AAS and ASO rotation.
  • Flights split over two missions per day with changes of AAS and ASO for each sortie.