Coulson demonstrates their C-130 tank system

Coulson Aviation USA has produced a video that demonstrates some of the capabilities of their 3,500-gallon Coulson RADS-XL Tank and the C-130Q which began flying under contract this fall, designated as Tanker 131. They shot the video at and near the San Bernardino air tanker base using cameras in their Sikorsky S76 helicopter, Firewatch 76. It shows the air tanker making down hill drops, which not every modern air tanker can accomplish very well.

The company bought the intellectual property for the RADS tank from Aero Union and in the last few months has been asked for price quotes for the tank system from a number of potential customers.

Britt Coulson told us:

Our plan is to manufacture and assemble the upper hopper and sell lower hopper subassembly kits where either we can complete the airframe install or another Lockheed Service Center can do the work.

Mr. Coulson said they have not finalized a price yet but it will be somewhere around $3.5 million installed. It would not surprise us if the U.S. Air Force will be calling for a quote, since they will be putting gravity tanks in the seven C-130Hs which will be transferred to the U.S. Forest Service after new wing boxes and fire retardant tanks are installed. The tank’s previous approval by the Interagency AirTanker Board will eliminate one very costly and time-consuming step in the process of converting an aircraft into an air tanker.

5 thoughts on “Coulson demonstrates their C-130 tank system”

  1. With critical fire weather this CHRISTMAS day in southern California I wonder if Tanker 131 is available? Record setter for parts of California, driest December ever, no rain in sight for the rest of the year. MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    1. Good question, Johnny, in light of the Red Flag Warning. T131 was done for the year in mid-November. Now it’s in Sacramento for maintenance and will be back online in March.

      Today, Christmas, there are no federal aircraft on duty in California except for two helicopters that are still assigned to the Pfeiffer Fire at Big Sur. One of those is available for initial attack.

      On the other hand, CAL FIRE has at least four air tankers and two helicopters on today. LA County has their usual lineup of helicopters in addition to a Type 1 helicopter and two Scooper air tankers.

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