Update on Neptune’s air tankers

Neptune BAe-146 landing at Redding
Neptune’s Tanker 41, a BAe-146, landing at Redding, California, August 7, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

The Missoulian has an interesting article about the status of Neptune’s air tankers and contracts.

Below is an excerpt:

…“The Forest Service is coming out with seven of what we’re calling the Next-Gen 2.0 contracts,” Neptune Chief Executive Officer Ron Hooper said. “We expected to see the notice on the first of November. We’re anxious to see the RFP (request for proposals) so we can see how many aircraft we’ve got working next year.”

Neptune still has three years remaining on its “legacy” contract with the Forest Service that covers six of its aging P2V propeller-driven retardant bombers and one of its new BAe-146 jet bombers. But its one-season contracts for three more BAe-146s have expired.

Meanwhile, the company has brought on two more of the jets, for a total of six…

Neptune's T-41 at Redding, California, August 7, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.
Neptune’s T-41 at Redding, California, August 7, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Dick and Ed.

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10 thoughts on “Update on Neptune’s air tankers”

  1. Tanker 40 did a nice flyover at the end of the “Star Spangled Banner” yesterday at the Griz-Bobcat game in Missoula.

    1. That’s great! I’ve never heard of an air tanker doing that. With the U.S. military restricted from doing much of that these days, the air tanker operators could occasionally fill the void if they happen to have a ship nearby. Congratulations, Neptune! Very patriotic. Now, how about putting a U.S. flag on your aircraft in addition to the Montana state flag?

    2. ive been sending messages to NASCAR for about a year now asking them to speak to CalFire to see if they would bring the OV-10,and one or even better,both S2Ts down from Santa Rosa on sunday of the cup race at Sonoma for the flyover..i never get a responce.

  2. Finally

    Mr Tom Harbour makes a mention of specific airfields, opertating parameters….as very technical stuff


    More reason why need more folks from Aviation running the aviation side of the house in the LMA’s and let forestry folks and fire folks do what they do. The article right there demonstrates the very disconnect that many of us writing to this website have mentioned……oh for about 40+ years now

    Hmmmmm…very technical stuff…hmmmmmm the Wright bros worked in their lane of bicycles and airplanes……maybe forestry types with no real background could demonstrate the same???

    2020……we are all tired of the studies but yet…voila…more mention

  3. Doesn’t appear that much has changed. Year to year contracts, a few three year contracts, study this study that, award this, wait for the protest. This isn’t the TBM days (60’s) the air tanker operators need to have longevity and foundation (10 year?) contracts. Technical, this isn’t the first manned mission to Mars, that is technical.

  4. Why is it such a battle each year?..you would think the USFS would want as many planes up protecting “their” (cough) land,so why do they drag their feet and kill off good companies like areo union when all it does is put life and property in danger?..people complain about our “upper” government..but seems to me ALOT of groups lower down the pecking order need overhaulin…should we call chip foooze to overhaul the USFS,the FAA,TSA…i could go on but i wont…Dave

    1. One of the reasons it’s a battle stems from the political mantra of smaller government and no real growth in agency budgets year after year (and yep, the type of leadership the FS and other agencies has and have had is tied to that mantra). By the way, Aero Union ran itself into the ground after a change of ownership in 2005.

  5. Nope nothing has changed

    OWNING a fleet and hoping for a straight clean contract is different than managing as the LMA’s do

    Good Luck with the C130H fleet…….

  6. If the USFS procurement environment is even remotely like the current DoD environment then the emphasis is on increasing competition to reduce short-term costs. This works against long-term contracts to established contractors. I think innovation and competition is good, but so is competence, performance, long-term value, and some measure of stability. The bottom line has to be the mission, and too often it appears that is not so.

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