San Diego City Council approved the purchase of a $19.8 million Firehawk for the city's fire-rescue department. Photo via Akradecki/Wikimedia

San Diego City Council approved the purchase of a $19.8 million Firehawk for the city's fire-rescue department. Photo via Akradecki/Wikimedia 

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) is adding a new Firehawk helicopter, capable of carrying 1,000 gallons of water, to its fleet next year, the City of San Diego announced.

The$19.8 million Firehawk, which is a modified version of the military grade Black Hawk, will perform aerial firefighting and assist with medical transports and search and rescue missions.

“The Firehawk configuration of the Black Hawk is the most capable multi-mission, firefighting helicopter available, with proven military grade capabilities,” Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy said in a statement. “Fires are spreading faster and getting larger. The need for aircraft to carry more water has become critical.”

The San Diego City Council also approved the construction of a new, 30,000-square-foot, $12 million SDFD hangar, which will have space for five heavy-lift helicopters, offices, maintenance, and storage for 10,000 gallons of jet fuel.

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