Timothy J German, Director, Global Pursuits, Lockheed Martin said that C130s have been supporting firefighting for over 50 years and within the last nine-year period there have been 1,95,000 forest fires in India, mainly focussed up to the central and northeast mountains.
“We have seen the demand for firefighting grow globally throughout the recent years. India uses bambi buckets tethered to helicopters to put out forest fires. It can transport 3,000 litres of water in this manner to the fire. Whereas when the C130 is equipped for firefighting, it can transport 11,500 litres of fire retardant, which is a game changer. It is versatile. There is a roll-on, roll-off capability to it where it can run missions in the morning and come back from firefighting. Within three hours, it will be doing airlift again,” said German.
Modular firefighting systems installed in the aircraft can drop thousands of gallons of fire retardant or water in just seconds. C-130J aircraft crews are able to fly over rugged mountainous terrain at low speeds to zoom in on targeted hot spots and drop fire retardant to assist firefighters below, executives of the company said.
Among other uses of the military transport aircraft is aerial refueling, VIP support, medical evacuation, cargo delivery, airdrop, arctic support, aerial spray, humanitarian aid, and maritime patrol. The Indian Air Force also operates a fleet of 12 C-130Js, for its tactical airlift missions.