Queensland ingenuity tackling a global challenge

Over the last 16 years, Helitak Fire Fighting Equipment has designed, manufactured, and sold a range of Helicopter Fire Tanks using its IP protected retractable fire tank design, exporting to the United States, Middle East, Europe, and New Zealand.

Based in regional Queensland, specialist design and manufacturer in the aerial firefighting space, Helitak is focused specifically on the design, testing and production for helicopters to help combat the growing catastrophic effects of bushfires and wildfires globally.Que 

Helitak was formed when CEO and Chief Engineer, Jason Schellaars, himself a commercial helicopter firefighting pilot, set out to design a better way of delivering more controllable water to the fire ground.

An innovative solution 

Jason devised a retractable water tank that expanded upon filling and retracted when water was released, with the design offering two main advantages.  

Firstly, the tank’s shape gives the load a mechanical force which makes the water leave the tank quicker and provides an improved drop pattern and coverage level, allowing the operator to tailor the water delivery to suit various types of fires. 

Additionally, Helitak’s design sees the tank expand below the landing gear when full, offering the operator the opportunity to take on-board the maximum load that the aircraft is capable of lifting, dramatically increasing its effectiveness.   

The business also created unique technology which enables simple, complete control of their fill and release system by the pilots.  

Growing international market

The Helitak customer base includes international civilian helicopter operators, government agencies and military organisations that utilise rotary aircraft and helicopters for aerial firefighting. 

In 2021, Helitak was awarded USA Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification for the Helitak FT4500 Black Hawk fire tank, making it the only approved fire tank available for the Black Hawk airframe globally. 

Helitak has also been awarded FAA certification for the Airbus Super Puma fire tank making it the largest water capacity tank available for this airframe. 

The design of the Helitak aerial firefighting tank, internationally known as an agricultural water dispensing apparatus, has been instrumental in the protection of agribusiness crops and infrastructure assets around the world, including the catastrophic wildfires in California’s Napa Valley.  

Helitak’s global solution has also been well supported by fellow Southeast Queensland businesses, with more than 80% of the 2,400 tank components currently sourced from suppliers within 150kms of Helitak’s Sunshine Coast manufacturing plant facility.

Helitak’s expanding international footprint was celebrated at the 2022 Premier of Queensland Export Awards where they won the Advanced Technologies category and were also a finalist, representing Queensland at the Australian Exporter of the Year held in November last year in Canberra.