Bridger Aerospace deploys aerial firefighting technology to Oklahoma

February 21, 2024

Bridger Aerospace sends early-season wildfire support to Oklahoma

Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, Inc., a leading aerial firefighting company, has announced the deployment of a Pilatus PC-12 Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) to Oklahoma.

This move is aimed at providing aerial intelligence for managing early-season wildfires.

The deployment marks the earliest seasonal dispatch of Bridger Aircraft since the company was founded in 2014.

Bridger Aerospace, listed under NASDAQ as BAER and BAERW, operates under a five-year contract with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

This collaboration began in the 2023 fire season, utilising Bridger’s bespoke data platform and advanced sensor and mapping technologies.

A commitment to community protection

Tim Sheehy, the Chief Executive Officer of Bridger, expressed the company’s readiness to safeguard communities: “Team Bridger is always ready to respond when called upon to protect our communities.

Our aircrews and ground support teams are a critical part of our nation’s aerial first responder infrastructure, and we are honored to serve Americans from coast to coast.”

The MMA is strategically located in Oklahoma, chosen for the area’s climatic conditions and history of early-season fire incidents.

The aircraft’s location is expected to change as the fire season progresses, moving to areas identified by the DOI and BIA for optimal mission effectiveness and support to wildland firefighters.

Enhancements for improved wildfire management

The contracts disclosed previously with the DOI include two five-year exclusive use agreements valued at up to $24 million each, alongside a call-when-needed contract worth up to $20 million.

These contracts cover high-resolution surveillance and intelligence operations, using a specialized air attack asset.

Bridger’s MMA features proprietary enhancements for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) over wildfires and natural disasters.

Upgrades include a retractable, military-grade infrared sensor system and a Mission Sensor Operator workstation.

These enhancements, coupled with communications equipment for air-to-ground interactions and data sharing, equip the aircraft with modular imaging systems like the WESCAM MX-15 and Overwatch TK-8.

These systems are designed to capture detailed wildfire imagery and data to assist ground firefighters.

The platform supports various operations, including enhanced “Air Attack” roles, new fire detection in lightning-strike areas, and the provision of detailed imagery for ongoing fire management.

This initiative plays a crucial role in incident planning, decision-making, and tactical firefighting efforts.

FSJA Comment

The early deployment of Bridger Aerospace’s Multi-Mission Aircraft to Oklahoma underscores the evolving landscape of aerial firefighting and disaster management.

Bridger’s proactive stance, leveraging advanced technology and strategic partnerships with federal agencies, exemplifies a modern approach to mitigating natural disaster risks.

The deployment is a testament to the importance of readiness, innovation, and collaboration in addressing the challenges posed by wildfires, particularly in regions susceptible to early-season fire outbreaks.

Bridger Aerospace’s efforts reflect a broader commitment to safeguarding communities and natural landscapes through the application of cutting-edge technologies and strategic planning.

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