The Air National Guard is using drones that are normally tasked for combat operations to perform aerial surveys of areas hit by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The drones allow the Guard to assess disaster-stricken areas quickly and decide which are the most in need of assistance.
Air Force Lt. Gen Scott Rice, director of the Air National Guard, told Military.com the Air Guard is using MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones to patrol parts of Texas affected by Hurricane Harvey, and will also use the aircraft over Florida after Hurricane Irma has passed. The Guard is also using RC-26 intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft often used in counternarcotics operations.
The aircraft, manned and unmanned, are being used for their ability to observe hurricane damage on the ground below. The MQ-1 Predator is equipped with the Raytheon AN/AAS-52 Multi-spectral Targeting System