Type 1 Airtanker – Modular Airborne Firefighting System
Cruise Speed: 275 mph
Gallon Capacity: 3,000
Original Owner: U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve
Crew: Pilot, Co-pilot and Flight Engineer
A MAFFS (Modular Airborne FireFighting System) unit is a 3,000 gallon pressurized tank installed on a military Lockheed C-130 cargo/utility aircraft. Retardant or water is dropped out of the tank in under five seconds through two tubes at the rear of the plane or through one tube out of the side in the newer models. The retardant dropped can cover an area of one quarter mile long and 60 feet wide to act as a fire barrier. The objective of the MAFFS program is to provide additional emergency aircraft to supplement the existing airtankers during major fire sieges. The MAFFS is not used for initial attack.
Congress established the MAFFS program after the 1970 Laguna Fire overwhelmed the existing aviation firefighting resources. The U.S. Forest Service was directed to develop a program in cooperation with the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve to produce the equipment, training and operational procedures to integrate military air tankers into the national response system. In 2009 the MAFFS 2 was unveiled as the next-generation portable retardant dispersal system. The MAFFS 2 is more efficient and effective in its retardant dropping capabilities.