Global SuperTanker Services, an air tanker company specialised in aerial firefighting, announced that it high capacity, rapid response aerial firefighting technology received interim approval from the US Interagency Airtanker Board (IAB) on the 6th of January 2016. The interim approval will allow the tanker to be considered for critical federal, state, and international firefighting contracts ahead of the 2017 forest fire season.
The company said that its B747-400 incorporates a patented system capable of delivering single or multiple drops aggregating nearly 20,000 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.
Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of Global SuperTanker, said: "IAB approval is an essential requirement in airtanker contracts for some wildfire agencies, including the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). With this approval, we look forward to bidding on - and winning - upcoming domestic and international contracts. We are grateful and excited to join the team of airtankers currently serving a critical mission for the United States and globally, and look forward to continuing to work with the USFS, CAL FIRE, and the IAB during the final approval process."
The Spirit of John Muir received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval in September 2016. It set off on its first mission in November 2016, when a series of massive blazes in Israel prompted thousands of evacuations and destroyed hundreds of homes.
The company said that IAB approval is necessary to win all federal firefighting contracts, as well as most state and some international contracts. Interim approval will allow Global SuperTanker to apply for these contracts – some of which are opening for bid within days – while the IAB considers final certification.
The B747-400 which named Spirit of John Muir is claimed to be the world's youngest, most modern, and fastest Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT).