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Media Day on MAFFS Aircraft Deployment to Arizona

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Robert Carver
  • Air Expeditionary Group
Two MAFFS-equipped C-130s from the 302nd Airlift Wing, U.S. Air Force Reserve Command, Colorado Springs, Colo., and two from the 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Port Hueneme, Calif., will relocate from Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., to Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., today at the request of the U.S. Forest Service. USFS directs the use of MAFFS resources when employed anywhere in the country. MAFFS operations had been based at Peterson since beginning June 11.

To date, MAFFS aircraft have made 72 drops on fires in Arizona and Colorado discharging 196,505 gallons of fire retardant.

Members of the press will have an opportunity to discuss the deployment of four military Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System aircraft to Mesa, Ariz., during a media availability with MAFFS officials today at 3 p.m. at the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

What: Media availability to discuss repositioning of MAFFS aircraft to Arizona
When: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 3 p.m. MST (Media arrival time: 2 p.m.)
Where: Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Gateway Aviation Services, 5803 S. Sossaman Road, Mesa, AZ 85212

Media Contacts On Site: Patrick Oakley, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, cell: 480-406-7464; Lt. Cmdr. William Lewis, U.S. Northern Command, cell: 719-492-2898
Special Instructions: Arrival time for media is 2 p.m. A multi box is NOT available on site. Media will be escorted to the event location.

MAFFS is a self-contained aerial firefighting system owned by the USFS. MAFFS modules are loaded into the cargo bays of military C-130 aircraft. Following USFS lead planes, military aircrews can discharge 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant from the MAFFS modules along the leading edge of a forest fire in less than five seconds and cover an area a quarter of a mile long by 100 feet wide. Once the load is discharged, ground crews at a MAFFS tanker base can refill the modules in less than 12 minutes.

An interagency DoD and USFS program, MAFFS provides aerial firefighting resources when commercial and private air tankers are no longer able to meet the needs of the Forest Service. The military AEG exercises control over MAFFS resources at the direction of the USFS.
Four C-130 Wings perform the MAFFS mission, each providing two MAFFS-capable aircraft and the air and ground crews needed to operate them. They are the 145th Airlift Wing, North Carolina Air National Guard; 146th Airlift Wing, California Air National Guard; 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard; and the 302nd Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command, in Colorado. The Colorado- and California-based units are currently activated.

USNORTHCOM is the joint combatant command formed in the wake of the Sept.11, 2001 terrorist attacks to provide homeland defense and defense support of civil authorities. USNORTHCOM provides DOD capabilities for disaster response operations in support of the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Interagency Fire Center, and state and local officials.