Two specially modified C-130s from Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., on Sunday dropped about 12,000 gallons of fire suppressant and retardant on raging wildfires in the northern Mexico state of Coahuila during four missions. The two aircraft carry the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, a self-contained aerial firefighting device. They began operating from Laughlin AFB, Tex., on April 16 after the Mexican government requested US assistance. So far, they’ve released roughly 21,000 gallons of fire suppressant and retardant in seven missions. These Reservists have also been helping to fight wildfires spreading in southern Texas. Four additional MAFFS-equipped aircraft were slated to arrive at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Tex., by Monday to help fight the Texas wildfires. They’re from Air National Guard units in California, North Carolina, and Wyoming. (Laughlin release) (Tyndall report by Lt. Col. Susan A. Romano)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.