The USFS received 15 of the aircraft which are known by a confusing list of names: Sherpa, C-23B+ (the military designator), and the civilian names of SD3-60, SD-360, and Short 360.
The contract, which has a potential value of $19 million, was awarded on July 29, 2015. At a minimum it will cover the flight deck installations in four of the SD3-60 aircraft with the possibility of converting 11 more.
The USFS expects to use the planes for delivering smokejumpers, cargo, and possibly firefighting personnel. They already have four SD3-30s, a variation, which is a little smaller with less powerful engines. According to Wikipedia the larger SD3-60 has a cruising speed of 249 mph, a range of 732 miles, and can carry 36 passengers (but fewer smokejumpers).
The schedule calls for the delivery of the first aircraft by the end of the third quarter of this year. Modifications on the remaining three Sherpas should be complete by the end of 2017.
On the Garmin G950 system, flight plan information is overlaid on a dynamic map displaying airspace, rivers, lakes, parks and woodland areas – typical landscapes for USFS missions.
The platform, which is 250 pounds lighter than the round dial analog system, also incorporates a terrain awareness and warning system, wide area augmentation system, and localiser performance with vertical guidance approach capability.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bill.