Coulson Aviation has won the United States Air Force contract to design, manufacture, and install up to seven 3500 US Gallon Aerial Retardant Delivery Systems in C-130H model aircraft.
The retardant system—which is already in place in the company’s own C-130—is the premier system of the firefighting world, said CEO Wayne Coulson.
“It’s well known in the firefighting community that our tanking system is the premier tank and that’s why Airbus signed on with us for the tanking system for the C295 tanking system,” said Coulson.
The new C-130 tanking system has been years in the making, he added.
“At about the end of 2013... the U.S. Coast Guard had their C-130 fleet and they wanted to get rid of their C-130s because they were a little bit too big. So they made a deal with the [U.S.] Air Force to get seven Alenia C-27J Spartans and their seven C-130Hs went to the Air Force,” said Coulson.
“Then Congress decided to give those seven [C-130s] to the U.S. Forest Service.”
The USFS then needed a retardant delivery system for their newly acquired C-130s.
That was something Coulson Aviation was in a uniquely good spot to deliver.
“Our advantage was that we have the only one certified by the [US] Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA certification is like a platinum standard as far as safety goes.”
The Coulson-modified tanks were both increased in capacity and are much more efficient, Coulson said.
“When we originally bought it, it was able to pack 3,000 gallons and now it can pack 4,400 gallons,” he said.
“We call it a ‘smart tank’ and the ‘smart’ being that the tank, because of the onboard computer, talks to airplane and talks to the doors of the tank. It’s a computerized tank and it’s the only one in the world.”
The first tank conversion will be completed by Lockheed Martin at their Greenville, South Carolina facility and will start in about six months.
This is not the only deal that Coulson Aviation has secured in the past few weeks: Wayne Coulson expects to make another announcement about a firefighting deal with another country in the coming weeks.