Neptune Aviation Services became an all-BAe 146 operator on 30 September, when it officially retired its last Lockheed P2V Neptune air tankers during a ceremony at its Missoula base. Neptune selected the BAe 146 as a replacement for its P2Vs, and started working on an air tanker conversion, in cooperation with lessor Tronos, in 2009. The first 146 air tanker, N146FF/Tanker 40 (msn E2049), entered service in 2011. As the 146 fleet has grown, the P2Vs have been gradually retired. The company operated four P2Vs during the 2017 fire season, alongside eight 146 air tankers. A ninth 146 air tanker conversion, N478NA/Tanker 16 (msn E2074) is nearing completion at Missoula and was on display during the P2V farewell ceremony.
Update 11 October: Neptune returned to service two of its P2V air tankers to help fight the devastating fires in northern California.
Recent news items on Neptune Aviation:
- More Neptune BAe 146 air tankers activated (2019-07-25)
- More Neptune BAe 146 air tankers back in action (2019-05-25)
- Neptune BAe 146 air tanker makes first drop of 2019 fire season (2019-03-09)
- Last Neptune tankers come home (2018-12-02)
- Neptune BAe 146 air tankers return home for Thanksgiving (2018-11-25)