Naming Australia's National Large Air Tanker: competition winners announced

AIDR and the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) would like to congratulate Bishop Druitt College Coffs Harbour, St Patrick’s College Campbelltown, and Christian College Geelong for being selected as joint winners of the National Large Air Tanker (LAT) Naming Competition.

The Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, visited Bishop Druitt College on Thursday 24 March, 2022, to congratulate one of the winning schools and announce the National LAT’s future name.

"I thank all of the schools who participated in the naming competition and congratulate the winning schools. I look forward to seeing the new livery on the LAT and this name could not be more appropriate" Minister McKenzie said.

The three winning schools all proposed the name “The Phoenix”. Students from the schools said that it is “a symbol of renewal and rebirth”, that the National LAT “is curing the land with its tears by putting out fires” and that it will allow “new life rising from the ashes”.  

Image: Bishop Druitt College Coffs Harbour winning students with Minister McKenzie.

Image: Christian College Geelong winning students.

Image: St Patrick's College Campbelltown winning students.

The National LAT provides a significant boost to Australia’s aerial firefighting capability. Large Air Tankers are extremely mobile and able to quickly deploy across the country, or to situations that may not otherwise be well served by aerial or ground firefighting resources.

It can carry and drop 15,000 litres of retardant or water and will be an invaluable asset for firefighting efforts in difficult-to-reach areas across Australia.

NAFC is a business unit of AFAC, the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services. AFAC CEO Rob Webb said that the National LAT is an opportunity to strengthen the resilience of Australian communities against bushfires.

“The National Large Air Tanker is a capability that's working to supplement the existing aerial firefighting fleet, and the efforts of dedicated firefighters in towns and cities across the country,” he said.

“Australian communities face increasing risk from a changing climate and there is opportunity for mitigation measures such as aerial firefighting to play a greater role in building resilience and protecting our communities from bushfires.”

The Competition received entrants from every Australian state and allowed young Australians to get involved and contribute to Australia’s disaster resilience. AIDR and NAFC would like to thank all the teachers and students who submitted entrants to the competition and commend their commitment to Australia’s disaster resilience.

For further information on disaster resilience education, visit the AIDR Education for Young People website