2 August, 2017
The Global SuperTanker - the largest, fastest, and most technologically advanced aerial firefighter in the world - has received interim approval from the US Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB) to fight fires in the United States.
The 17-month approval is similar to what has been given to other aerial tankers and is a necessary step for the SuperTanker to compete for contracts in the US and abroad.
However, IAB approval is only a first step; the SuperTanker does not currently have a contract with the United States Forest Service (USFS) to fight fires, and pending contracts for large aerial tankers exclude tankers the size of the SuperTanker.
"The Global SuperTanker must be given the chance to protect our citizens from one of nature's most destructive forces," Harry Toll, chairman of Global SuperTanker Services (GSTS) said.
"As we have previously done in Israel and Chile, we look forward to getting in the fight against the wildfires that are currently ravaging large portions of the Western United States."
IAB approval is an essential requirement in airtanker contracts for most domestic wildfire agencies, and affects the ability for airtankers to apply for international contracts.
With this interim approval, the SuperTanker is now in a position to fight fires under its existing CalFire contract. A USFS contract will allow the Supertanker to fly in the rest of the United States to support firefighters, save lives, and protect property.
"While approval from IAB is a necessary and positive development, it is only one step in the process to put the largest and most-advanced firefighting tool to work for America," Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of GSTS said.
"The men and women at the Forest Service have a tough job when fires rage on multiple fronts. We want to make their jobs safer and more productive to help preserve the areas the Forest Service is sworn to protect.
"We are continuing conversations with Forest Service staff and senior U.S. Department of Agriculture leadership to find a contract pathway for the SuperTanker."