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.

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