California Air Guard Gets Firefighting Upgrade

The new variant of the modular airborne fire fighting system has been approved for operational use on the C-130J transports of the California Air National Guard’s 146th Airlift Wing at Channel Islands ANG Station. The unit, the first to be cleared to use MAFFS II, now has two new units at its disposal, giving the state a big boost in overhead firefighting capability in time for the state’s coming wildfire season (state elected officials had pushed for an earlier delivery). California hasn’t had a MAFFS capability since 2006 since the older version doesn’t fit on the stretch version of the C-130J. Compared to the previous version of MAFFS, the new variant “can make a more effective [wildfire] retardant line and is more efficient,” said Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Dave Condit, deputy commander of the MAFFS Expeditionary Air Group, which overseas the firefighting operations of the 146th AW, two other Air Guard airlift wings, and one Air Force Reserve Command unit. Plans are to integrate MAFFS II on the C-130 firefighting aircraft of each unit. MAFFS drops an orange-colored mixture of fire retardant and water that helps to keep a fire from spreading. (ANG release)