More contracts for BAe 146 and Avro RJ air tankers

Just two weeks after giving Neptune Aviation a contract for its first BAe 146-200 air tanker, the US Forest Service (USFS) has issued contracts covering several more BAe 146 and Avro RJ tankers. Neptune Aviation received contracts for an additional two 146 tankers, while Minden Air received a contract for two 146 tankers, and Aero-Flite Inc received a contract for an Avro RJ85 tanker. Another contract covered two McDonnell Douglas MD-87 tankers. Neptune expects to field both its new 146 tankers this summer. Minden Air, which is developing its own 146 tanker design, will bring one into service this year and one next year. Aero-Flite will use the Avro RJ85 tanker being developed by Canada’s Conair, beginning next year. Neither Minden’s nor Conair’s designs have yet been tested. The new aircraft will join a tanker fleet that has been severely depleted in recent years. Indeed, two tankers were lost on the same day in early June: a Neptune Lockheed P2V crashed while fighting a fire in Utah, killing both its pilots, while a Minden P2V was severely damaged in a wheels-up landing in Nevada.

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