THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE has awarded contracts to four companies to provide a total of seven next-generation airtankers for wildfire suppression.

“This is a major milestone in our efforts to modernize the large airtanker fleet, which plays a vital role in wildfire suppression,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said. “As we mourn the recent loss of two airtanker pilots, we must continue to meet our responsibility to be prepared to respond vigorously to wildfires threatening lives, communities, and cultural and natural resources.”

The contracts are the result of a comprehensive effort by the Forest Service to replace its aging airtanker fleet. The Forest Service initiated the process to develop and issue these contracts last fall. In February, the Obama Administration, led by the Forest Service, issued a Large Airtanker Modernization Strategy and the President included $24 million in the 2013 budget for this purpose.

The exclusive use contracts were awarded to Neptune Aviation Services Inc. of Missoula, MT, for two BAe-146s in 2012; Minden Air Corp. of Minden, NV, for one BAe-146 in 2012 and one in 2013; Aero Air LLC in Hillsboro, OR, for two MD87s in 2013; and Aero Flite Inc. of Kingman, AZ, for one Avro RJ85 in 2013. The contracts allow these companies to provide additional airtankers in 2013, 2014 and 2015, contingent on funding and other circumstances. All of the airtankers are turbine powered, can carry a minimum of 2,400 gallons of retardant and have a cruise speed of at least 300 knots when fully loaded. The companies that are providing them are required to comply with stringent safety requirements in their contracts.

5.11 TACTICAL has appointed Guy Burgstahler as chief marketing officer.

“We continue to invest in the 5.11 Tactical brand with the creation of the Chief Marketing Officer role,” CEO Tom Davin said. “Guy Burgstahler will further enhance our efforts to better serve public safety and military professionals around the world.”

Burgstahler’s previous positions include director of marketing at Circuit City, vice president of marketing at Pet Smart, vice president of marketing at Dick’s Sporting Goods and vice president of marketing at Tractor Supply Co.

FERRARA FIRE APPARATUS INC. has been awarded a contract by the FDNY for 13 additional 100-foot rear-mount aerial ladders. With this latest order, a total of 54 of FDNY aerials will carry the Ferrara nameplate.

PHENIX TECHNOLOGY has entered a partnership with MN8-FOXFIRE to offer Foxfire illuminating helmet bands and tetrahedrons as upgrades on all Phenix fire helmets. Foxfire products use an advanced photoluminescent technology that possess the unique capacity to absorb and store light and then release it as a bright luminance in the dark. The bright glow emitted from Foxfire’s helmet bands, tetrahedrons and other products illuminates surroundings and serves as a light emitter, enabling firefighters to keep track of their crews in dark environments. When fully charged (by any light source), Foxfire products can glow for up to 17 hours.

TETRAKO LLC, the fire suppression subsidiary of EARTHCLEAN CORP., announced that the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) of Minnesota has approved a cost-share grant in the amount of $300,000. The money, funded by AURI, the Minnesota Corn Research & Promotion Council and the Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, is for TetraKO to develop a Class B or Class A and B fire suppressant.

“We are excited and thrilled to have been selected by AURI for assistance in our research and development of a bio-based TetraKO Class B fire suppressant formula specifically for combustible liquids, such as gasoline and industrial chemicals,” said Doug Ruth, TetraKO chief executive officer. “Our TetraKO technology is based on cornstarch and other renewable ag ingredients and are, therefore, an excellent fit for the AURI mission of identifying new technologies that advance the market opportunities for agriculturally based products.”

TetraKO technology is biodegradable and non-toxic, and has proven to be far superior to water and Class-A foam in firefighting. In March 2012, TetraKO technology was acknowledged in a white paper (“Next Generation Water Enhancer for Fire Protection and Suppression in Wildland and Structural Applications”) by the Technology Council of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).

SEAGRAVE FIRE APPARATUS has received an order for a dive-rescue unit from the Louisville Fire Department/Jefferson County Metro Government in Kentucky.

The Louisville Fire Department is situated on the Ohio River and protects many businesses, a large number of commercial and pleasure craft and the McAlpine Locks and Dam. The department uses a “task force” concept with an aerial ladder and pumper to respond with the rescue truck to water-related emergencies. The single-axle apparatus are built on a Marauder II chassis with a 500-hp Cummins ISX engine.

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