World’s largest helitanker to be based out of Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base through your’s end. Photo by Col. (CA) Richard Lalor, JFTB Public Affairs Officer.

World’s largest helitanker now supporting wildfire fighting efforts from JFTB

From jet fighters to transport aircraft, Los Alamitos Army Airfield has played host to a variety of aircraft since it was first established as a Naval Air Station in 1942. Effective Oct. 1, the airfield also serves as home base for the world’s largest helitanker, which will work from the airfield for the remainder of the year.

As part of a robust partnership between the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California National Guard, the largest and most capable heavy-lift helicopter in the world is supporting 24/7 firefighting efforts as Southern California enters the peak of the unprecedented wildfire season it is currently experiencing.

Operated by Coulson Aviation, Inc., the “Very Large” CH-47 Chinook Helitanker (VLHT) is equipped with a state-of-the-art Retardant Aerial Delivery System (RADS) and can deliver a payload of 3,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass over a wildfire. Its capabilities also include day and night vision goggle firefighting operations, infrared technology and the ability to hover-fill, even at night.

An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter hovers beside the world’s largest helitanker at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Photo by Col. (CA) Richard Lalor, JFTB Public Affairs Officer.
An Orange County Fire Authority helicopter hovers beside the world’s largest helitanker at Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Photo by Col. (CA) Richard Lalor, JFTB Public Affairs Officer.

“Joint Forces Training Base is extremely proud to support this endeavor, and our state agency partners that are working in support of the Governor’s priorities to protect lives and property across the state,” said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Michael Leeney, JFTB Installation Commander. “We look forward to timely and successful firefighting operations being conducted from the base through this program for as long as there is a need.”

For additional information, please contact Col. (CA) Richard Lalor at (562) 795-2096 or via email at [email protected], or Staff Sgt. Crystal Housman at (805) 458-3825 or via email at [email protected]

This article was released by Joint Forces Training Base Los Alamitos.

Featured Photo: World’s largest helitanker to be based out of Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base through your’s end. Photo by Col. (CA) Richard Lalor, JFTB Public Affairs Officer.