Watch Giant DC-10 Fire Bombers Make Intense Attack Runs On Arizona’s Multiple Blazes

Well, it’s that time of year again. Fire season is upon us and the 10 Tanker team has deployed two of their four DC-10-30 very large air tankers (VLATs) to Arizona to fight the ongoing blazes that have struck the state. With fires burning on steep mountain ridges and inside tight canyons, the DC-10’s power and maneuverability, and the 10 Tanker crews’ skills, have been put to the test. Like always, they put on quite a show. Case in point are the videos below showing some of the most extreme recent retardant drops over the Copper State that will leave you biting your nails and holding your breath.

You can read more about these awesome life and property saving converted DC-10 tankers, as well as check out some of their most incredible drops, in these past posts of mine

While the DC-10s held the mantle of the world’s biggest aerial firefighting aircraft after Evergreen retired its largely passed-over, but way ahead of its time 747-100 VLAT, the 747 has regained the crown once again, with a 747-400 now in service with the Global Supertanker. Still, the 10 Tanker DC-10s are battle-proven after nearly a decade and a half of service and their 12,000 gallons of retardant can go a long way when trying to keep a fire from spreading into sensitive areas. 

Check out 10 Tanker’s latest report from the front lines of the Arizona fires here

A huge thanks to 10 Tanker team and all the crews fighting fires out west, both in the air and on the ground! 


Our friend Chris Clarke just posted this video of what looks like a real near disaster (at the very least a code brown) when a BAe-146 tanker barely made it past a ridgeline after dropping its retardant:

No doubt about it, aerial firefighting is a dangerous business. 


Note the BAe-146 incident happened last year. Here is more info on it.

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler's passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.