Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Seven new airtankers planned for US Forest Service

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is contemplating acquiring up to seven new production commercial aircraft to serve in a multi-mission capacity, according to contract documents released Tuesday. The primary mission is the Forest Service Airtanker Mission focused on wildfire suppression and dropping retardant in support of ground firefighters to contain or control new, emerging and large fires.

The secondary mission includes two distinct type operations, logistical support of firefighting crews and delivering critical material to the wildfire area of operations. The firefighting crew support includes movement of up to two firefighting crews (20 passengers per crew) and their equipment to anywhere in the United States. The transportation of critical firefighting equipment includes moving the Forest Service owned Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System II to an area of operation.

The Federal Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 stated that funding shall be available for the purpose of acquiring aircraft for the next-generation airtanker fleet to enhance firefighting mobility, effectiveness, efficiency and safety. The USFS intends to purchase aircraft to fulfill this congressional appropriation. 

The Forest Service is planning an Industry Day Conference, during which potential offerors may obtain a better understanding of the government requirement with this effort. The Airtanker Modernization Industry Day will be held in the USFS Pinchot Conference Room in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 26. The day will consist of a presentation by the USFS on the project overview, requirements and draft specifications for the project. Opportunities will be available for the group to ask questions as well as individual discussions with each offeror.

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