by Jerry Stoddard
ANGRC MAFFS FAM
9/3/2015 - JOINT BASE MARYLAND, Md. -- Airmen
from the Wyoming Air National Guard's 153rd Airlift Wing recently began
training the U.S. Forest Service in the use of the ANG's aerial
firefighting system at McLellan Airfield, California.
In April, the Forest Service acquired the first of seven HC-130H
aircraft authorized by Congress to be transferred from the Coast Guard
for use in wildfire suppression.
"The 153rd Airlift Wing is proud of the 40 year partnership we have with
the U.S. Forest Service." said Col. Bradley A. Swanson, 153 AW
commander, "The MAFFS mission is an excellent example of the dual-use
value of the Air National Guard and we are extremely pleased to be able
to leverage our experience and our long-standing relationship with the
USFS to provide this critical training. The unique firefighting
capability provided by working together allows us to assist communities
throughout the country when they're in need."
The 153rd's instructor team is training Forest Service aircrews in the
use and operation of the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or
MAFFS, which is used to drop water or fire retardant onto a wild fire
from an altitude of about 150 feet. Using the MAFFS system will allows
the forest Service to rapidly integrate the new aircraft into their
Training conducted by the 153rd Airmen consisted of 8 hours of ground
training, followed by 12 hours of airborne training over the course of
multiple flights. Topics covered include the MAFFS system, emergency
procedures, weather avoidance, aircraft performance and mountain flying.
"MAFFS is one of the most rewarding missions we accomplish as Guardsmen
because it directly supports the homeland and demonstrates our domestic
response ability," said Lt Col Todd Davis, MAFFS instructor pilot and
153rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. "This is a true
interagency response between the Guard and Forest Service; it gives each
of us a great sense of accomplishment to be able to assist in adding to
their aerial firefighting capability."
The Forest Service plans to use MAFFS through the 2015 and 2016 fire
seasons. By 2019, all seven aircraft are scheduled to be delivered to
the Forest Service and converted to a gravity-fed firefighting system.
The MAFFS equipment will then be returned to the Air National Guard
inventory in order to continue their mission of providing support in a
The 153rd Airlift Wing has been operating MAFFS-equipped aircraft since 1975.