A Wyoming Air National Guard C-130 outfitted with a Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) retardant delivery system made a demonstration drop at the Cheyenne, Wyoming Wild West Show. Photo: Master Sgt. Robert Trubia, 153rd Airlift Wing, July 24, 2019.
The MAFFS that convert a military aircraft into an air tanker can be installed in a C-130 in a matter of hours. The units hold up to 3,000 gallons of water or retardant that is forced out of the tanks by compressed air.
The MAFFS program consists of eight units located at four military bases in the western United States — Channel Islands in Southern California, Cheyenne, Colorado Springs, and Reno. Each base has two units.
The concept behind the MAFFS is to have surge capacity. The units can be activated when ongoing wildfires reduce the ability of the 13 large air tankers on federal exclusive use contracts to respond to new initial attack and extended attack fires.
The MAFFS aircraft can be activated by the Governors in the four states or the National Interagency Fire Center.