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Firefighting upgrade: MAFFS II

A C-130 Hercules Modular Airborne Firefighting System aircraft takes off for a mission during an annual MAFFS exercise at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park in Greenville, S.C., on May 4, 2005.  The exercise is a one-week annual training and re-certification exercise joining air and ground personnel from the Federal Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, U.S. Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve units.  The exercise involves eight C-130 Hercules aircraft that fly continuous missions dropping water on South Carolina's Sumter National Forest to prepare crews for wild land firefighting missions.  The C-130 is assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne, Wyo.  DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen, U.S. Air Force.  (Released)

A C-130 Hercules Modular Airborne Firefighting System aircraft takes off for a mission during an annual MAFFS exercise at Donaldson Center Industrial Air Park in Greenville, S.C., on May 4, 2005. The exercise is a one-week annual training and re-certification exercise joining air and ground personnel from the Federal Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, U.S. Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force Reserve units. The exercise involves eight C-130 Hercules aircraft that fly continuous missions dropping water on South Carolina's Sumter National Forest to prepare crews for wild land firefighting missions. The C-130 is assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard in Cheyenne, Wyo. DoD photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Hannen, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- An Airman with Wyoming?s Air National Guard 153rd Airlift Wing washes down a C-130H July 1 at McClellan Airfield in Sacramento, Calif. The C-130H is currently assigned to the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group.  The 302nd Air Expeditionary Group?s C-130 aircraft include aircraft from two Air National Guard units, the 153rd Airlift Wing of Cheyenne, Wyo., and the 145th AW of Charlotte, N.C. and one Air Force Reserve unit, the 302nd AW from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.  The C-130 aircraft?s deployed location in Sacramento allows the aircraft to fly with maximum fuel loads and operate MAFFS with a nearly full fire retardant capacity, flying support of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and U.S. Forest Service operations.  The 302nd AEG provides unique capabilities and is part of a unified military support effort of U.S. Northern Command to provide assistance to the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and the National Interagency Fire Center. USNORTHCOM continues to closely monitor the California wildfires to anticipate additional requests for Department of Defense assistance to local, federal, and state civil authorities.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Luke Johnson)

SACRAMENTO, Calif.- An Airman with Wyoming's Air National Guard 153rd Airlift Wing washes down a C-130H July 1 at McClellan Airfield in Sacramento, Calif. The C-130H is currently assigned to the 302nd Air Expeditionary Group. The 302nd Air Expeditionary Group's C-130 aircraft include aircraft from two Air National Guard units, the 153rd Airlift Wing of Cheyenne, Wyo., and the 145th AW of Charlotte, N.C. and one Air Force Reserve unit, the 302nd AW from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The C-130 aircraft's deployed location in Sacramento allows the aircraft to fly with maximum fuel loads and operate MAFFS with a nearly full fire retardant capacity, flying support of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and U.S. Forest Service operations. The 302nd AEG provides unique capabilities and is part of a unified military support effort of U.S. Northern Command to provide assistance to the U.S. Forest Service, CAL FIRE, and the National Interagency Fire Center. USNORTHCOM continues to closely monitor the California wildfires to anticipate additional requests for Department of Defense assistance to local, federal, and state civil authorities. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Luke Johnson)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. -- The Wyoming Air National Guard's Modular Airborne Firefighting System has recently received an update in the form of a new system called MAFFS II.

The Wyoming Air Guard, along with three other C-130 units throughout the United States, will now use the updated system in their forest firefighting efforts.

According to Senior Master Sgt. Douglas Peterson, 153rd Operations Group loadmaster, the MAFFS II has many advantages over the old system, including being 40 years newer. Peterson has been a loadmaster with the 153 OG since 1987 and has utilized MAFFS numerous times in his career, including the Yellowstone fires and overseas fires in Indonesia.

The unit has already received one new system and is awaiting their second; and once trained, in Boise, Idaho, the first week of May, members will be able to make use of the MAFFS II improvements.

In addition to being newer, some of the improvements include: avoiding corrosion to the aircraft by having one tube out the side for fire retardant dispersal versus two tubes out the back; higher possible drop levels and better, more accurate coverage levels due to the addition of updated computer systems.

The one thing that will not change with MAFFS II is the exchange training program. The most recent exchange was with the Brazilian Air Force, training locally with the 153rd OG in October 2010. By the end of this calendar year all MAFFS units will have converted to this new system, making the Air National Guard's aerial firefighting capabilities more effective at combating forest fires around the country and world.