Canadian aerial firefighting company Coulson Aviation has won a contract from the US Air Force to install its Retardant Aerial Delivery System (RADS)-XXL Firefighting Systems on seven C-130H aircraft.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will operate the aircraft.

The company has partnered with Lockheed Martin, which will carry out the installation activities at its location in Greenville, South Carolina, US.

The addition of the seven aircraft is expected to make the RADS Series of Aerial Delivery Systems the most prominent large air tanker delivery system globally.

Coulson Aviation first installed the RADS in 2011 to equip its C-130H/Q aircraft for aerial fire suppression. The company has now won a contract from the US Air Force to provide a modern RADS for its fleet of C-130s.

Coulson Aviation CEO Wayne Coulson said: “We are honoured to have been selected by the United States Air Force. This contract award is a testament to the commitment at Coulson Aviation of excellence in aerial firefighting. We are very fortunate to have so many hard-working men and women supporting operations on three continents.”

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Coulson Aviation vice-president Britt Coulson said: “We are the first system in the industry to employ technology to not only aid and reduce the workload of the pilots, but to produce a superior drop pattern on the ground.”

The Canadian company has more than 25 years of experience in aerial fire suppression and is said to be the only commercial operator of C-130H aircraft.

The company’s RADS-XXL Firefighting System will help CAL FIRE in its fight against California’s wildfires, saving thousands of acres of land and structures and lives.

Coulson Aviation operates in Australia, Canada, Chile and the US with a fleet of heavy fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

The company also has an aerospace design team in western Canada that focuses primarily on special mission modifications.

The company’s Boeing 737 FIRELINER can transport up to 72 passengers without any need to reconfigure the aircraft.