ELVIS the Helitanker has returned to Melbourne ahead of the fire season and will lead a fleet of more than 40 aircraft this summer.
After more than a decade in Victoria's skies, the bright orange helicopter will lead a fleet of more than 40 aircraft this summer.
A further 150 aircraft will be "on call' to help out in Victoria if required.
With temperatures set to hit the high 30s today and total fire bans in place across the Wimmera, Mallee, Northern Country and North Central regions, the water bomber has arrived just in time.
But with contract negotiations due next year, it could be the last time Elvis returns to its Essendon base.
Speaking at yesterday's launch, Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Bushfire Response Peter Ryan said Elvis was a "remarkable machine" and had helped protect Victoria for many years.
"It has become synonymous in the minds of many Victorians with our capacity to fight fire," Mr Ryan said.
"In the days leading up to Black Saturday in 2009, this very aircraft was absolutely instrumental in saving the town of Boolarra, when it made a very, very timely appearance in the skies to help that community.
"Elvis is now in position and a second aircrane, Gypsy Lady, will be based in Ballarat from later this month," Mr Ryan said.
"Two Sikorsky helicopters, which can each carry 3500 litres of water, have also been brought in especially for the summer period and will be based at Mansfield and Colac."
Elvis has the ability to carry more than 9000 litres of water or foam and travel at about 200km/h.
Read more on the Herald Sun.