A new system that would allow water or retardant to be dropped from C-130’s has been approved since January, but has been stuck in bureaucratic inertia according to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher.
“Hundreds of airplanes that could be easily and cheaply made into water tankers and firefighting assets are being kept on the ground,” said Rohrabacher. “An asset that could have saved millions of dollars in terms of property damage, and saved lives of our people were kept on the ground,” he said.
The Precision Container Aerial Delivery System or PCADS can be loaded onto C-130 and C-17 aircraft to make precision drops of water or retardant directly onto wildfires using GPS.
Ty Bonnar, president of Flexible Attack Innovations, creators of PCADS, says the containers burst open like water balloon right before hitting the flames, creating a rain effect.
“So we actually put the wet stuff on the hot stuff and suppress it,” Bonnar said. “We’re also using gel technology which is 100% biodegradable, it’s eco-friendly, and it’s also 50% less [than] the cost of Phos-chek.”
The C-130 can carry 4,000 thousand gallons of water or retardant, said Bonnar.
“The beauty with PCADS is we fly high above the fire,” he said. “We airdrop using GPS technology which is not done today.”
This is a fixed-wing direct attack tool, he said.
“We’re not doing containment, we’re actually doing direct attack.”
PCADS has been available for at least 10 years, but Rohrabacher said it wasn’t until January that it’s been approved by the military.
“While California burned, we had hundreds of aircraft that could have helped us save California, were kept on the ground by a military bureaucracy,” he said.
Rohrabacher said he sent a letter to the Department of Defense demanding that the red tape be removed and the product be allowed to be used immediately.