The requirement includes, but is not limited to, fixed wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger, cargo, passenger and cargo combination (COMBI) and LCLA airdrop operations using STOL air transportation services between locations in the Areas of Responsibility (AOR) of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The contractor shall provide all direct labor, transportation, supervision, training, fixed wing aircraft, administrative support for conducting air operations and all other items and services necessary to perform Air Support Services (parachute operations) for Government directed aerial delivery missions.

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     This is neat.  This solicitation at FBO is for a very unique contract that would certainly provide for some interesting and extremely dangerous work.  Basically they want STOL aircraft to fly around in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to drop paracargo and transport people and things. And with STOL aircraft, that means airplanes that can land on short mountain top strips, roads, or flat valley areas. They are also cheaper to run than helicopters.

     The other thing I clued in on with this contract, is it looks like the company tasked with performing this work will do ‘everything’. Does this mean using their own kickers or spotters, who are tasked with pushing the paracargo out of the aircraft? I would assume so.  In the past, this was done primarily by Air Force loadmasters (or Army loadmasters).

   If you go back to the Vietnam war, the kickers that Air America used were contractors.(mostly former smokejumpers or ex-military loadmasters) They also kicked cargo all over South East Asia and the missions were dangerous and very specialized. Personally I think this is great news, because this is the kind of work that could easily be done by non-military loadmasters.

     My small community of smokejumpers continue to specialize in these kind of operations for forest fire work, and they don’t even bother with the GPS guided stuff.  We specialized in putting the ‘low cost’ into the Low Cost, Low Altitude paracargo mission, and have been doing it that way for a very long time.

    Either way, this would be some interesting work, and if you check out the interested venders list, you will see just how big this is.  Presidential Airways and Evergreen Aviation have put in for this contract, as well as tons of other companies I have never heard of. With the surge of troops and thousands of guys spread throughout the region, aviation work will continue to be a very lucrative contract in this war. And fixed wing STOL is about as cheap as you can go for aviation transport or paracargo operations. -Matt

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Pilatus Porter

An old Pilatus Porter on a remote mountain strip. (photo by Tom Claytor)

V–Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) and Low Cost and Low Altitude (LCLA) Aerial Delivery Services – Afghanistan

Solicitation Number: W52P1J-10-R-0100

Agency: Department of the Army

Office: Army Contracting Command

Location: Rock Island Contracting Center (RI-CC)

Notice Type:Solicitation

Original Posted Date: February 18, 2010

Posted Date:June 23, 2010

Response Date:July 26, 2010

Original Response Date:July 26, 2010

Archiving Policy:Automatic, on specified date

Original Archive Date:April 26, 2010

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