U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) has introduced the Wildfire Suppression Aircraft Transfer Act (S. 3441). The bill would transfer 14 C-27J aircraft from the U.S. Air Force to the Forest Services for the express use of firefighting.
The Air Force's fiscal year 2013 force structure proposal identified an excess of 21 to 38 nearly new C-27J fixed-wing aircraft. The U.S. Forest Service would acquire fourteen C-27Js to enhance its severely diminished firefighting fleet at no cost.
“The Forest Service needs to modernize its entire airtanker fleet,” said McCain. “We have an opportunity to take the C-27J, an aircraft the Pentagon no longer wants, and give it to the Forest Service to enhance aircraft safety and lower existing maintenance costs. The C-27J should be kept in the service of the American people to help our brave fire crews, rather than sit in an airplane boneyard.”
The bill has been referred for further consideration to the Senate Armed Service Committee, which McCain chairs.
For the full text of the bill, click here.