The US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has awarded three operators contracts for aerial firefighting services valued at a total of USD192 million.

In a statement, the Forest Service said it had awarded Aero Air (WIL, Portland Hillsboro, OR) a contract valued at USD70,501,530. Aero Air operates McDonnell Douglas MD-83 and MD-87 firefighter tankers through its Erickson Aero Tanker (Portland Hillsboro, OR) subsidiary.

For its part, Aero Flite (Kingman) was awarded a contract for USD80,388,610 presumably for the use of its ARJ-85 firefighters.

Lastly, Coulson Aviation (United States of America) (CUL, Portland Int'l) was awarded a multi-year contract for Next Generation Large Air Tanker Services throughout the United States valued at USD41,528,725. The contract begins in 2020 and will see B737-300 tanker N137CG (msn 27700) being deployed in operation.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service has met its goal to convert to a fully Next Generation Airtanker fleet with up to 35 airtankers to support wildfire response efforts nationwide," the department said. "The Forest Service also has an agreement with the National Guard to use military C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems, and additional airtankers are available through Master Mutual Aid agreements with various states."