Global SuperTanker, World’s Largest Aerial Firefighter, Now Eligible to Fight Fires in the US

Global SuperTanker, World’s Largest Aerial Firefighter, Now Eligible to Fight Fires in the US
U.S. Interagency Airtanker Board grants SuperTanker 17-month approval, but the Global SuperTanker still awaits a U.S. Forest Service contract

July 25, 2017

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The Global SuperTanker – the largest, fastest, and most technologically advanced aerial firefighter in the world – has received interim approval from the U.S. 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 U.S. 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,” said Harry Toll, Chairman of the owner of the SuperTanker, Global SuperTanker Services, Inc. (GSTS). “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,” said Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of GSTS. “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.”

ABOUT THE GLOBAL SUPERTANKER: Global SuperTanker’s B747-400, The Spirit of John Muir, incorporates a patented system capable of delivering single or multiple payload drops aggregating over 19,000 gallons of water, fire retardant, or suppressant. These fluids can be released at variable rates from the plane’s pressurized tanks, producing a tailored response to the firefighting need. This unique ability allows it to make as many as eight drops in a single flight, while other aircraft such as the C-130 or BAe-146 must repeatedly land and refuel to achieve the same results. While deployed to Chile in February, the Global SuperTanker set a world record for liquid dropped in a single day by a land-based aerial tanker at 134,400 gallons. With a flying speed of 600 miles per hour, the Spirit of John Muir can reach any part of the globe in 20 hours or less, or any part of North America in less than 4.5 hours. GSTS is led by President and CEO Jim Wheeler and by a team that has 259 years of aviation and related USFS experience.