September 24, 2008
Rep. Rohrabacher Secures New Firefighting Technology Funding, Helps Combat Wildfires
Today, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher's (R-CA) $2.32 million spending request for testing of the new cost effective Precision Container Air Delivery System (PCADS), overwhelmingly passed the House as part of the FY 09 Continuing Resolution package. The PCADS technology is currently being developed as a powerful new tool to fight wildfires.
"This is a tremendous victory for anyone who lives in a wildfire prone area, particularly in California," said Rohrabacher. "We have now dramatically increased the number of airborne firefighting assets throughout the United States.
"This is especially important to California where we have C-17s and C-130s that can now be readily available to fight wildfires without modification to the aircraft. This is the best dual-use technology advancement to combat wildfires I've seen in decades."
Unlike a traditional aerial tanker, the PCAD system can be deployed by any airdrop-capable airplane at any time of day or night, in any type of terrain. Biodegradable bags filled with 2000lbs. of water or fire retardant are loaded onto the aircraft and dropped onto the fire from the rear of the plane. Targets are assigned Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates which then can be translated to precise release points. The PCADS drops are remarkably accurate, allowing for safer, higher altitude missions.
PCADS, developed by Boeing and assembled at their Long Beach, CA facility located in Rep. Rohrabacher's district, fits the C-130 and C-17 fleet, capabilities and firefighting mission of the Air National Guard. The system turns aerial firefighting into a routine cargo drop enabling many military units the ability to respond immediately to a single major event or multiple fires.