C-130 Hercules aircraft took part in fighting the forest fires that hit the city of Concepción
Air Force Agency, by Lieutenant Scarlet and Captain Alcoforado
The Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira – FAB) concluded, on March 2nd, its assistance in fighting the forest fires that hit the city of Concepción, in Chile, in the center-south of the country. The mission involved the use of C-130 Hercules aircraft, under the command of Major Leonardo Pacheco Martins da Silva, from the First Transport Group Squadron (1°/1° GT – Gordo Squadron). The operation accounted for the launching of 636 thousand liters of water and more than 40 hours of flight time. The team had been operating in the country since Feb. 9.
“It is a very challenging mission, since its characteristics are low launches, close to the terrain, and it also demands air traffic coordination, since there are many trades launching in the same location, which demands a lot from the crew,” said the Commander.
The operation was coordinated by the Ministry of External Relations (MRE), through the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC), by the Ministry of Defense and by the FAB. The forest fires, which affected several regions of the country and caused the death of more than 20 people, destroyed almost 1,500 homes and left almost 6 thousand homeless.
Air Captain Ítalo Holanda de Oliveira, one of the pilots who made up the team that was operating in Chile, talked about the challenges of the mission. “The firefighting flight has its challenges and peculiarities: the aircraft takes off very heavy and we act about 50 meters above the fire spots. It was a great satisfaction and a great learning experience to contribute to the Chilean people”, he said.
The C-130 Hercules
The plane uses the MAFFS (Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System) fire fighting system and can carry 12 thousand liters of water. The system weighs 770 kilos and has two tubes, which project water down the rear ramp of the plane at a height of approximately 150 feet (about 46 meters).
FAB action on other occasions
In January 2017, FAB was also activated to act in the fight against fire in Chile, and the military of the First Troop Transport Group (1st GTT – Zeus Squadron) performed the launching of water during the 14-day mission in the country. In this operation, the squadron reached the mark of 48 missions in six days of work. More than 500 thousand liters of water were launched over the fires located in the Bío-Bío region.
Chile also requested Brazil’s help in fighting fires in 2014. The FAB’s C-130 Hercules was sent to fight a forest fire that affected the municipalities of Florida and Temuco. About 30 Brazilian military personnel participated in that mission.
Photos: 1st/1st GT