Upgraded Wyoming C-130 activated for firefighting mission

Jul 28, 2017

A Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 equipped with the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems will be launched to fight wild fires in the Western United States tomorrow.

This is Wyoming’s first 2017 firefighting activation and the first time the state will be sending a C-130 with enhanced capabilities to perform a MAFFS mission.

“I’m excited to see these modifications finally come to fruition in a domestic support role,” said Col. Paul Lyman, commander of the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing.

MAFFS 1, assigned to the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard demonstrates an airborne drop during the Wyoming National Guard Open House July 27. This aircraft will be heading for California on a federal activation to help support wildfire missions. (Wyoming National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire)
Since 2007 Wyoming has worked with the National Guard Bureau to provide C-130 legacy engine and propeller systems with modern technological upgrades to significantly improve aircraft performance.

“We are eager to fly MAFFS with the added capability and maintenance reliability the series 3.5 engine modification has,” said Lt. Col. Todd Davis, 187th Airlift Squadron commander. “The aircraft has more power when needed and uses less fuel which is a definite game changer for the MAFFS mission. We fly low and heavy, dropping 150 feet above the ground in hot, smoky, dangerous conditions. The modifications allow us to safely fly on fires farther away from the base. That increased range increases our effectiveness for the MAFFS mission.”

Davis and approximately 50 other Wyoming personnel will be activated for this mission. Currently the activation is scheduled to last one month; however, the order can be amended, as needed.

Personnel and one MAFFS-equipped C-130H each from the 152nd Airlift Wing in Nevada and the 302nd Airlift Wing in Colorado join Wyoming on the federal activation. The three aircraft will be stationed in Fresno and fly on fires in the Western United States.

MAFFS is a joint Department of Defense and U.S. Forest Service program designed to provide additional aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private airtankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the forest service.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the U.S. Forest Service that can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than 5 seconds, covering an area one-quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, it can be refilled in less than 12 minutes.

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