B747-400 Tanker has been tapped to help battle unprecedented number of rainforest fires.
The Amazon is burning up at an astounding rate. So far this year, it has recorded over 74,000 fires and counting, which is up 84 percent over the same time last year. As the Amazon rainforest provides 20 percent of the world's oxygen, it's all hands on deck to help beat down the blaze, both from the ground and the air, and Colorado has been called to service.
A Colorado Springs-based Global SuperTanker has been activated and arrived in Bolivia on Friday, August 23.
This tanker is a beast. It can carry nearly 20,000 gallons of retardant per mission. It is a next-gen aerial firefighting tanker, offering more capacity of the next-largest tanker in production. It can drop either retardant, gel, foam, water, or a combination of any two agents in a continuous discharge or up to eight segmented drops.
"It joins the worlds fleet of aerial firefighting tankers not only as the youngest VLAT (VERY LARGE AIR TANKER) but with almost twice the capacity of the next largest aerial tanker," says the Global SuperTanker website.
What makes this tanker even more impressive is the speed for its size. Its dash speed is nearly 600 mph, helping it reach almost anywhere in the U.S. in 2.5 hours.
"Operating from its base in Colorado Springs, the SuperTanker can reach virtually any point in North America in approximately 4.5 hours, ready to discharge its IAB approved load amount of 18,600 gallons of retardant before landing," said the tanker's website.
In addition, it can travel to almost anywhere in the world in 20 hours or less, making it able to provide fast, efficient global fire-fighting support.
"Configured with 14 first-class seats and two bunks for the support staff and additional flight crew, the SuperTanker arrives ready to begin previously coordinated flight operations with the host agency," says the site.
The SuperTanker has already been deployed on missions in Bolivia and will continue to do so as the efforts continue to quell the fires.
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