The Air Force activated the military’s only large, fixed-wing pest control aircraft to help areas recovering from hurricanes and heavy rains.
The C-130s from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown Air Reserve Station, Ohio, deployed to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., on Oct. 20 for several days to support Environmental Protection Agency-registered aerial spray to control mosquitos that thrive in post-storm conditions across the state. The C-130s are the military’s only aircraft equipped with the Modular Aerial Spray System.
“Our military men and women are privileged to be able to assist the interagency team and people of Louisiana as they recover from the recent hurricanes Delta and Laura,” said Lt. Gen. Kirk S. Pierce, commander of First Air Force (Air Forces Northern), in a release.
The unit is expected to spray in Acadia, Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, and Vermillion parishes in Louisiana, according to the release. The aircrew use night vision equipment to fly their missions during dusk and nighttime hours when the insects are active, and “the 910th’s men and women are longtime pros at the mission,” Pierce said.
This mission is the first time the unit has been activated for storm response since they treated 1.4 million acres impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2014, according to the release.
Similar to the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System flown by other Guard and Reserve C-130 units, the MASS is a roll-on system that releases the spray from the rear of the C-130. In addition to targeting the insects, the aircraft can also assist with clearing vegetation and in the dispersal of oil spills.
The 910th Airlift Wing flies four-propeller C-130Hs for the mission, though Air Force Reserve Command indicated early this year it intends to replace the aircraft with newer C-130J models.