Coast Guard to help the Forrest Service–Fire Aviation

Fire Aviation is reporting an interesting wrinkle in the story of the transfer of Coast Guard C-130s to the Forrest Service,

“We were surprised to hear from Mrs. Jones (a Public Affairs Specialist for the Forest Service at the National Interagency Fire Center-Chuck) …that a joint U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Forest Service program office will provide logistics, operations, training, maintenance, and support for the C-130H aircraft. The Coast Guard has been managing a fleet of C-130s since 1959, using them for long range search and rescue, drug interdiction, illegal migrant patrols, homeland security, and logistics. They have 24 older C-130Hs which are being upgraded with new center wing boxes and cockpit equipment with new multi-function displays. In 2008 they began replacing some of the C-130Hs with new C-130Js; they have six now with three more on order. All these numbers were valid before the Coast Guard agreed to send seven C-130Hs to the USFS if the Coast Guard could get the 14 almost new C-27J aircraft from the military that had been earmarked for the Forest Service.”

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