Annual training and certification was held for crews of three Modular Airborne FireFighting Module (MAFFS) aircraft

Photos from Peterson Air Force Base and the training event near Denver

MAFFS training Peterson AFB Colorado fire aerial firefighting
Members of the 302nd Airlift Wing load a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit into a C-130 Hercules aircraft April 23, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. On the left is the nozzle that is attached at the left side troop door. The MAFFS unit is used during annual aerial firefighting training requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)

Last weekend members of the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing from Colorado Springs with Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing out of Cheyenne began a weeklong aerial wildland firefighting training and certification session hosted at the air tanker base at the Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport  (Jeffco) near Denver, Colorado. Two C-130s from Colorado Springs and one from Cheyenne were on hand.

The C-130 Hercules aircraft can be equipped with the U.S. Forest Service’s Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS), which can drop up to 3,000 gallons of fire retardant. The system slides into the back of the military aircraft and retardant is sprayed under pressure through a nozzle in the troop door on the left side. MAFFS aircraft can be activated to supplement the civilian airtanker program to slow the spread of wildland fires.

MAFFS training Peterson AFB Colorado fire aerial firefighting
Members of the 302nd Airlift Wing push a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit into the bay of a C-130 Hercules aircraft April 23, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The unit holds 3,000 gallons of fire retardant and can discharge all of it in less than 5 seconds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)

The training was originally scheduled to take place in Boise at the end of April, but that was cancelled because of COVID-19. There may be another MAFFS training event in a month or so out west for the crews from Reno and southern California.

Interagency MAFFS training begins
Members of the Air Force Reserve’s 302nd Airlift Wing and the Forest Service prepare a C-130 carrying a modular airborne fire fighting system at Jeffco Airtanker Base to participate in MAFFS training and certification April 27, 2020. (U.S. Forest Service Photo by Laura McConnell)
MAFFS training Jefferson County Airport Colorado fire aerial firefighting
MAFFS 2 is being observed by visitors at Jefferson County International Airport, April 29, 2020. Photo by Andrew Morton.
MAFFS training Peterson AFB Colorado fire aerial firefighting
Aircrew from the 302nd Airlift Wing aboard a C-130 Hercules aircraft taxi toward the Peterson Air Force Base runway with Pikes Peak in the background April 27, 2020. The aircrew are bound for Jefferson County, Colo., to conduct annual aerial firefighting training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)
MAFFS training Peterson AFB Colorado fire aerial firefighting
Members of the 302nd Airlift Wing load a U.S. Forest Service Modular Airborne Firefighting System unit into a C-130 Hercules aircraft April 23, 2020 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. In the foreground is the nozzle that is attached at the left side troop door on the C-130. The MAFFS unit was being used during annual aerial firefighting training requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Norton)

MAFFS #2 drops on the Black Forest Fire

The video shows one of the Modular Airborne FireFighting Systems (MAFFS) C-130 air tankers from Peterson Air Force Base dropping on the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs June 12. The actual drop (spray?) begins at about the two-minute mark.

MAFFS annual training

MAFFS 2 training
A C-130 Hercules from the 302nd Airlift Wing drops a load of water April 22, 2013 near Fairplay, Colo during training. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Nathan Federico) Click to enlarge.

Two of the four military units that provide military C-130 aircraft configured to serve as air tankers are conducting their annual training, certification, and recertification. Peterson Air Force base in Colorado Springs had their’s April 19-23 and Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne has chosen the week of May 5. The military Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS) can help fill a need for a surge capacity when all of the privately owned contract air tankers are committed.

The 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson is the only Air Force Reserve organization that has an aerial fire fighting mission. The wing’s MAFFS program added one pilot, two navigators, two flight engineers and four loadmasters to the aerial fire fighting roster this year. Reserve aircrew members who support the MAFFS mission are volunteers, with each working to incorporate aerial fire fighting training into their required airdrop and tactical flying skill sets.