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U.S. Forest Service to Use Missoula’s Neptune Aviation Air Tankers

Neptune air tanker
A tanker dropping retardant. (Neptune Aviation)

The U.S. Forest Service will be using aircraft from Missoula’s Neptune Aviation to fight forest fires again this year.

USFS Chief Tom Tidwell announced the “legacy large airtanker exclusive-use” contracts this week. According to a Forest Service news release, two companies will provide eight large airtankers to support firefighters through the 2013 fire season.

Neptune Aviation will provide six prop-driven P2V tankers and one jet turbine-powered BAe-146 airtanker. Nevada-based Minden Air Corporation will provide one P2V aircraft.

The P2V tankers each carry 2,000 gallons of retardant and the BAe-146 carries about 3,000 gallons of retardant.

The Forest Service is looking at contracts for the “next generation” airtankers, which are jet-turbine powered. Those contract decisions are expected within weeks.

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