The US Air Force has awarded a $15.4m contract to ground support equipment manufacturer Global Ground Support to provide deicers and support equipment for aircraft.

Under the five-year contract the company will deliver 196 deicer vehicles, 49 production vehicles and two preproduction units.

The 196 deicers are mid-sized models that work for most aircraft while other vehicles are much larger models used for deicing C-5 and C-17 aircraft.

The 75ft larger deicers known as the ER-2875 enables the air force to deice tail sections of C-5 and C-17 that are up to 65ft high while the other deicer models are mounted on commercially available truck chassis.

The ER-2875 uses forced air to remove snow from the tail section of the C5 and C17 and to perform the deicing operation for heights above 40ft the operator deploys a set of four stabilisers to reach additional 30ft.

The 642d Combat Sustainment Group at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia will supervise the contract.

The company supplied 420 deicers to the air force from the previous ten-year contract that expired in June 2009.