A delegation from China’s People’s Liberation Army visited Air Force Reserve Command’s 302nd Airlift Wing at Peterson AFB, Colo., to learn more about the wing’s overhead firefighting mission. The wing operates Modular Airborne Firefighting System-equipped C-130 aircraft that drop fire suppressant and water on forest fires and wildfires. Lt. Col. James Devere, the 302nd Operations Group’s deputy commander, briefed the Chinese delegation during its Sept. 15 visit, which included a tour of one of the wing’s C-130Hs. The Chinese visit came as the 302nd AW employed its C-130s as part of a larger Air National Guard-AFRC effort to help battle wildfires in Texas and the western United States. The Chinese spent a total of three days with US Northern Command, headquartered at Peterson, as part of an exchange intended “to enhance US and Chinese dialogue and disaster-management capabilities,” according to US defense officials. (Includes Peterson photo caption by TSgt. Peter Dean)
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.