BAe 146 air tanker contract renewed

The US Forest Service (USFS) has awarded Neptune Aviation a new air tanker contract; its previous contract had expired at the end of 2012. The new contract covers the use of five Lockheed P2Vs for five years, and of another P2V and one BAe 146 for one year, with options to extend for four more years. This is a so-called ‘legacy’ contract, covering the use of existing equipment; the so-called ‘next generation’ contracts for faster, more capable air tankers are still pending. Neptune already has two operational 146 air tankers, N146FF/Tanker 40 (msn E2049), and N471NA/Tanker 41 (msn E2136). A third, N472NA/Tanker 10 (msn E2138), is at Missoula being prepared for service. She will have an improved drop system.

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