USFS Seeks Next Generation Air Tankers


Fireplanes is following the U.S. Large Air Tanker crisis and evolving developments.  

The U.S. Forest Service requires turbine powered airtanker services for aerial delivery of retardant in support of fire suppression nationwide. Aircraft must have a minimum acceptable payload of 2400 gallons (target of 3000-5000 gallons) and shall be capable of of a cruise speed of 300 knots (KTAS) with maximum payload.

The intent of the solicitation is to secure a Firm Fixed Price Multi-Year contract(s) not to exceed 10-years (5 year base with 5 one year options) for the daily availability rate. The U.S. Forest Service intends to award seven (7) line items for next generation turbine powered airtankers. Line items 1-3 will begin service in calendar year 2012 and will have a base period of five (5) years with five (5) one year options. Line items 4-7 will begin service in calendar year 2013 and will have a base period of five (5) years with four (4) one year options. The flight rate will be an unknown quantity with no guarantee of flight hours given by the Government.

Details on

Download Solicitation .pdf

Contracting Office Address:
U.S. Forest Service, Contracting
Owyhee Building – MS 1100
3833 S. Development Avenue
Boise, Idaho 83705-5354
United States
Place of Performance:
Nationwide (To Be Determined)
Boise, Idaho 83705
United States
Primary Point of Contact.:
Matthew D. Olson,
Contracting Officer
Phone: 208-387-5835
Fax: 208-387-5384
Secondary Point of Contact:
Elna E. Black,
Procurement Technician
Phone: 208-387-5632
Fax: 208-387-5384

About Fireplanes
Fireplanes is dedicated to providing valuable information about the aircraft, technology, policy and resources about wildfire and the aerial firefighting industry. is "Information to save lives and property". Please share with your friends, family, colleagues and representatives at every level. - Randall Stephens, Publisher / Austin, Texas.

4 Responses to USFS Seeks Next Generation Air Tankers

  1. Craig Haws says:

    This has been under the radar lately,have not heard anything new for quite awhile.
    It appears that The USFS is still looking for C-130’s so maybe if the 130’s were available which they are not,this system may be of some real value ?? . The current solititation from the USFS for 7 tankers is for planes that today don’t exist ? and the fire season is all but here NOW.

    Tanker Dog 85

    • Fireplanes says:

      It appears the PCADS and FireIce will give yet another reason for using C-130; and if MAFFS is put back into production after the Aero Union auction, even more opportunities. But who has $80 Million for a Hercules? Or for that matter, the Shinmaywa US2?
      Although the DOD wants to be out of the aerial firefighting role, all ANG units have a state mandate, and PCADS training could be given to units anywhere in the USA and territories, provided the system passes testing soon. There is a Homeland Security angle too.

      The Beriev 200 has great potential, and the USFS is allowing aircraft under IAB evaluation to be submitted for consideration. I have taken a close look at the Be-200 at MAKS and at the Gidroaviasalon. It is high time to get this plane into the USA. Getting any large modern plane into service costs money, and a lot of it.

      USFS contracts will need to be 10 years in order to depreciate new aircraft in the $40 – 80 Million (USD) price range. For the real capital of $500 Million+ needed, the contracting system must be fixed, and fast. Otherwise the current USFS leadership will be remembered as negligent, if not morally liable.

  2. Norman Cook says:

    I was AeroUnions Chief Pilot for a brief time and am familiar with the flight characteristics we need in order to do the job….put the retardant where it’s needed, in a timely manner. The Forest Service has put itself in a tough place by grounding the P-3s. That airplane was the single most effective delivery system in our arsenal.
    Now the industry has to respond to a need in haste. The pressurized drop systems are not nearly as reliable or as safe, as the constant flow gravity fed systems. The the fan jet, swept wing possible replacements will bring their own set of problems, that haven’t been worked out yet. And there is no way to pay for what we need and keep the costs in a reasonable relm.
    It would have been better to continue with the older fleet we had and gradually transition to new platforms. However, the Companies were never fat enough financially to go about transitioning in a methodical way. Now you will be faced with equiptment that is questionable in the fire environment at the same time you are trying to train new people to fly them. Make no mistake, the men who fly these missions are not ordinary pilots, They will be difficult to replace.
    Norm Cook
    Chief Pilot AUC [retired}

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: