Wyoming and North Carolina aircrews certify on MAFFS

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Charles Delano
  • 153rd Airlift Wing
About 150 Airmen and personnel assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard, and U.S. Forest Service trained together at Donaldson Field in Greenville, South Carolina May 1 - 7, 2015 to complete annual certification on the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS). Four MAFFS equipped C-130H Hercules aircraft dropped water over Angeles National Forest as part of the required training for aircrews to operate MAFFS during wildfires.

Prior to training, maintenance crews installed the slide-in MAFFS units and added the high visibility one and three markings on the tail and side of the aircraft. During wildfire suppression the MAFFS equipped C-130H can discharge up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water over an area one-quarter of a mile long by 60 feet wide in under five seconds.  Once the load is discharged, the MAFFS system can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

The MAFFS program was established by Congress in the early 1970s to support wildland firefighting through an agreement between the Department of Defense and the U.S. Forest Service. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) requests the assistance of military aircraft which are activated through the U.S. Northern Command.