Monday, September 12, 2011 — CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The North Carolina Air National Guard’s 145th Airlift Wing, based here, will send two aircraft equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS) to Texas, Saturday morning, Sept. 10, to fight wild fires raging in central Texas. The 145th received notification of the mission today.
MAFFS modules loaded into the cargo bays of the unit’s C-130H3 Hercules aircraft carry some 3,000 gallons of fire retardant or water used to douse or stem the advance of flames. MAFFS are requested only when all other fire service aircraft are committed to major, extended fire incidents. They are considered a 24-hour resource, meaning that MAFFS aircraft can be at their deployed location and fighting fires within 24 hours.
In addition to the two aircraft which will carry the MAFFS modules, a third aircraft carrying support personnel and equipment will also join the mission. All of the aircraft will operate from Austin-Bergstrom Tanker Base in Austin, Texas. The 145th is one of only four units nationwide tasked with the MAFFS mission. All four are either Air National Guard or U.S. Air Force Reserve units. Each unit operates two MAFFS modules.