Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to combat wildfires.
The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial firefighters,
delivered to the fire by parachute from a variety of fixed-wing aircraft, or rappelling from helicopters.
Chemicals used to fight fires may include water, water enhancers such as foams and gels, and specially formulated fire retardants such as Phos-Chek

Lockheed C-130
Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS)

Role Military transport aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Lockheed Corporation / Lockheed Martin
First flight 23 August 1954; 66 years ago
Introduction December 1956
Status In service
Primary users United States Air Force / Royal Canadian Air Force
United States Coast Guard / Royal Air Force
Produced 1954–present
Number built Over 2,500 as of 2015
Variants Lockheed AC-130

Lockheed-Martin Aircraft

Lockheed C-130
Modular Airborne FireFighting System (MAFFS)

Goto Lockheed Transport

C-130 Hercules

The idea of fighting forest fires from the air dates back at least as far as Friedrich Karl von Koenig-Warthausen‘s observations on seeing a blaze when overflying the Santa Lucia Range, California, in 1929.[2]:142

A wide variety of terminology has been used in the popular media for the aircraft (and methods) used in aerial firefighting. The terms airtanker or air tanker generally refer to fixed-wing aircraft based in the United States; “airtanker” is used in official documentation.[3] The term “waterbomber” is used in some Canadian government documents for the same class of vehicles,[4][5] though it sometimes has a connotation of amphibians


ir attack is an industry term used for the actual application of aerial resources, both fixed-wing and rotorcraft, on a fire. Within the industry, though, “air attack” may also refer to the supervisor in the air (usually in a fixed-wing aircraft) who supervises the process of attacking the wildfire from the air, including fixed-wing airtankers, helicopters, and any other aviation resources assigned to the fire. The Air Tactical Group Supervisor (ATGS), often called “air attack”, is usually flying at an altitude above other resources assigned to the fire, often in a fixed-wing plane but occasionally (depending on assigned resources or the availability of qualified personnel) in a helicopter.

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Lockheed C-130 (Maffs) (2007)

The C-130 entered service with the U.S. in 1956, followed by Australia and many other nations. During its years of service, the Hercules family has participated in numerous military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations. In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft to mark 50 years of continuous service with its original primary customer, which for the C-130 is the United States Air Force. The C-130 Hercules is the longest continuously produced military aircraft at over 60 years, with the updated Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules currently being produced.


  • Crew: 5 (2 pilots, CSO/navigator, flight engineer and loadmaster)
  • Capacity: 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) payload
    • C-130E/H/J cargo hold: length, 40 ft (12.19 m); width, 119 in (3.02 m); height, 9 ft (2.74 m). Rear ramp: length, 123 in (3.12 m); width.
  • Length: 97 ft 9 in (29.79 m)
  • Wingspan: 132 ft 7 in (40.41 m)
  • Height: 38 ft 3 in (11.66 m)
  • Empty weight: 75,800 lb (34,382 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 155,000 lb (70,307 kg)
  • Powerplant: 4 × Allison T56-A-15 turboprop engines, 4,590 shp.
  • Maximum speed: 320 kn (370 mph, 590 km/h) at 20,000 ft (6,100 m)
  • Cruise speed: 292 kn (336 mph, 541 km/h)
  • Range: 2,050 nmi (2,360 mi, 3,800 km)
  • Service ceiling: 33,000 ft (10,000 m) empty 23,000 ft (7,000 m) with 42,000 lb (19,000 kg) payload
  • Rate of climb: 1,830 ft/min (9.3 m/s)
  • Takeoff distance: 3,586 ft (1,093 m) at 155,000 lb (70,307 kg) max gross weight; 1,400 ft (427 m) at 80,000 lb (36,287 kg) gross weight[

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Some T-33s retained two machine guns for gunnery training, and in some countries, the T-33 was even used in combat: the Cuban Air Force used them during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, scoring several kills including sinking two transport ships. The RT-33A version, reconnaissance aircraft produced primarily for use by foreign countries, had a camera installed in the nose and additional equipment in the rear cockpit.