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Brazilian Air Force aids Colombian Air Force in firefighting efforts

February 15, 2024

Collaboration between air forces to combat forest fires

In response to the severe forest fires ravaging Colombia, the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) has extended its support to the Colombian Air Force (FAC) by equipping a Colombian Air Force C-130 aircraft with advanced firefighting systems.

Colombia faces an environmental crisis, with an average of 204 fires per month, affecting hundreds of individuals nationwide.

The FAB mobilized a KC-390 Millenium aircraft from the 1st Troop Transport Group (1st GTT) – Zeus Squadron, on January 31, equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System (MAFFS II).

This system is crucial for aerial firefighting operations.

The aircraft departed from Anápolis Air Base (BAAN) to Galeão Air Base (BAGL) in Rio de Janeiro, where the FAC C-130 was outfitted with the FAB’s MAFFS I system before heading to El Dorado Airport (SKBO) in Colombia.

This initiative aims to enhance Colombia’s forest firefighting capacity, especially in critical areas like the Amazon Forest, shared by both countries.

Enhancing firefighting capabilities

The installation of the MAFFS System on the Colombian aircraft was a collaborative effort involving military personnel from BAAN and BAGL, coordinated by the Second Sub-Chief of the Air Force General Staff and the Aerospace Operations Command.

The MAFFS system, which can release 12,000 liters of water and fire retardant, highlights the rapid deployment capabilities for emergency situations, taking approximately 3 hours for complete assembly or disassembly.

Lieutenant-Colonel Umile Coelho Rende, Commander of the Gordo Squadron, emphasized the system’s efficiency and the support provided by Galeão Air Base for its installation on the Colombian aircraft.

The adaptation ensures compatibility with the foreign aircraft, with FAB technicians offering comprehensive ground and onboard support.

International cooperation in action

Major Aviator Anderson Dias, Commander of the KC-390 aircraft involved in the mission, reflected on the significance of this operation.

It underscores the 1st GTT’s commitment to prompt response in both national and international emergencies.

This mission exemplifies the collaborative spirit and capabilities of the Brazilian Air Force in aiding neighboring countries.

The MAFFS II system is notable for its low maintenance cost, quick configuration, and versatility, applicable not only to firefighting but also to addressing chemical spills and other environmental emergencies.

This operation builds on the FAB’s history of international cooperation in environmental protection, including previous missions in Chile.

FSJA Comment

The collaboration between the Brazilian and Colombian Air Forces represents a significant step forward in international efforts to combat environmental disasters.

This partnership strengthens the firefighting capabilities of both nations and serves as a model for cross-border cooperation in addressing the global challenge of forest fires.

The use of advanced technology like the MAFFS system demonstrates the potential for military resources to be utilized in preserving the environment.

As forest fires continue to pose a threat to ecosystems worldwide, such initiatives are crucial for enhancing the preparedness and response mechanisms of countries facing similar crises.

The success of this mission further cements the role of air forces in providing immediate and effective solutions to environmental emergencies, highlighting the importance of international solidarity and innovation in tackling these urgent issues.

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