New large air tanker named after Dame Marie

The state's first permanent Large Air Tanker (LAT) to respond to bushfires across NSW has touched down at Richmond RAAF.

Named after the former NSW Governor, the Marie Bashir is a 737 LAT and will be located in the Hawkesbury to respond to bushfires all year round.

New LAT: Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston and Dame Marie Bashir welcomed the new Large Air Tanker at RAAF Richmond. Picture: Supplied.

New LAT: Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston and Dame Marie Bashir welcomed the new Large Air Tanker at RAAF Richmond. Picture: Supplied.

Unveiling the new LAT on August 13, Dame Marie Bashir said she was humbled to receive the honour from the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).

"Our emergency service members are world class and I thank them for all they have done and continue to do, protecting the communities of NSW," Dame Marie said.

NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers, Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott were also in attendance, Ms Preston saying she was delighted at the decision to name the new aircraft in honour of Dame Marie.

Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston, Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers, and Dame Marie.

Hawkesbury MP Robyn Preston, Emergency Services Minister David Elliott, NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers, and Dame Marie.

"The LAT is the first of its kind in Australia and it is great to have it permanently located at Hawkesbury," Ms Preston said.

"The LAT will remain in NSW throughout the year. It has a cruising speed of 850km an hour, drops 15,000 litres of fire suppressant, can transport firefighters and is operational from [August 13].

"Minister Elliot, Dame Marie and I are very impressed with this tanker and its capabilities. This means more protection for the people, property and the bush, all delivered courtesy of the Berejiklian Government."

LATs were previously contracted from the United States in the warmer months, however the Marie Bashir was "here to stay", Mr Elliott said.

"Our most important bush firefighting asset is our firefighters, and having this aircraft permanently available year round shows the NSW Government's commitment to having the best available equipment to help protect lives and property," he stated.

Acting Commissioner Rogers said the 737 and its two lead planes would provide fast, flexible and effective firefighting options, supporting crews on the ground.

"We saw an increase in fires last July and August, so it is comforting to know this aircraft is ready to be deployed at any time when needed," he said.

Coulson Aviation PTY will operate the LAT and its two lead planes.

Ms Preston and NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers.

Ms Preston and NSW RFS Acting Commissioner Rob Rogers.