Coulson Aviation Secures $16 Million Year-Round Firefighting Contract for Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura Counties

Thermal, California – November 29, 2023 – Coulson Aviation is pleased to announce it was awarded a $16 million firefighting contract to continue supporting Southern California’s Quick Reaction Force (QRF) year-round throughout 2024, with an option to continue through 2025.

“Coulson Aviation is thrilled to extend our support of the Southern California QRF,” says Britton Coulson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Coulson Aviation. “This contract went through a competitive bid process and Coulson was chosen again because of our high experience level, competitive pricing, and great customer feedback. We look forward to serving Southern California through 2024 and beyond.”

The QRF is a fully equipped wildfire suppression program for Los Angeles, Orange, and Ventura county fire departments that launches day or night at the first sign of fire. This is Coulson’s sixth year contracting with Southern California Edison (SCE) to support the QRF and its second year supporting the QRF 24/7/365.

Since starting with the QRF, Coulson has flown over 700 hours, with 60% of that time at night using night vision goggles (NVGs), and dropped more than 4.5 million gallons of water on just under 200 wildfires. Every fire Coulson fought with the QRF was successfully extinguished in its initial burn – none have expanded into large campaign fires.

“One of our standout and high demand capabilities is our night NVG firefighting,” Coulson says. “While NVG firefighting is a high-risk operation, our immersive training, technology-based targeting systems, and superior tanking systems significantly manage the risk and allow us to safely deliver considerable results. Our strong nighttime capabilities are the wildfire battle game changer for the QRF.”

The contract includes three Boeing CH-47 Chinook Very Large Helitankers, a Sikorsky S-76 intelligence and recon helicopter, and full flight and maintenance crews. The aircraft operate around the clock, with pilots using NVGs at night. The Sikorsky S-76 intelligence and recon helicopter provides additional “eye-in-the-sky” support for the helitanker operations. While the aircraft are primarily dedicated to the QRF, they are available to support other local fire departments within the 50,000 square mile tri-county service area.

Coulson’s CH-47 Chinook Very Large Helitankers are equipped with Coulson’s own RADS-L delivery system, the largest fixed helicopter tank in the world. The system carries 3,000 gallons and can “hover fill” in 90 seconds. Coulson also designed and manufactured the largest retractable snorkel, allowing for the quickest return to the fire line.

About Coulson Aviation

Throughout the company’s 60+ years, the mission has remained the same: to protect the world from forest fires. Our organizational capabilities allow our team to provide simultaneous aerial support across numerous continents. As a leading supplier to county, state, and federal governments worldwide, Coulson has focused its next-generation multi-mission fleet on sustainable, in-production aircraft. Working in partnership with OEMs and leveraging the latest technology allows Coulson to provide superior all-hazard response aircraft. Learn more about us by visiting:

Ryan Mason
Ryan Mason
Ryan is an accomplished writer and aerial photographer that has worked in the aviation industry for over a decade before co-founding AerialFire Magazine. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Ryan is a former police officer that focuses his writing and photography efforts on para-public operations and agricultural aviation.

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