Massive firefighting aircraft approved to fight wildfires

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The nation's largest firefighting aircraft has been approved to fight wildfires on federal land, allowing its owners to negotiate contracts for the upcoming fire season.

The Gazette reported that the Colorado Springs-based Supertanker was approved by the U.S. Interagency Airtanker Board on Friday.

The approval means the aircraft's owner Global Supertanker Services LLC can contract with the U.S. Forest Service and other agencies to serve as a firefighting tool.

Global Supertanker officials say they intend to bid in response to a Forest Service request for proposals expected to be issued next month.

The converted freighter, which can carry up to 19,600 gallons of retardant or water for 4,000 miles, received Federal Aviation Administration approval in September and completed its first mission in November, helping fight fires in Israel.

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