The U.S. Forest Service’s air tankers, the giant planes that drop huge loads of water or fire retardant on wildfires, are an average of 50 years old, according to a 2009 Department of Agriculture report. Here are the air tankers the service now uses — all similar in design — and two that could potentially replace some or all of them.

Sources: U.S. Forest Service; Bombardier; Lockheed Martin, Boeing; Neptune Aviation; Aero Union; P2V photo by Steve Bowyer | The Washington Post June 12, 2011
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