Bill to increase air tanker fleet introduced

A bi-partisan group of U.S. Senators have introduced a bill that would transfer 14 surplus C-27J Spartan aircraft from the Department of Defense to the U.S. Forest Service to be used as air tankers. The Senators introduced legislation on Wednesday known as the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Transfer Act of 2012 (S. 3441) ”to help replenish the agency’s aging airtanker fleet”.

If the designated aircraft are designated as air tankers, at only four years old they would be by far the youngest large air tankers being used in the United States. The aircraft that currently comprise 8 of the 9 large air tankers active on exclusive use contracts today are over 50 years old.