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Drones the First to Arrive in Haiti

by christian on January 15, 2010

Our boy Colin Clark at DoD Buzz participated in an interview this morning with the vice commander of the Air Force’s 480th ISR wing at Langley AFB.

Looks like they’re spooling up the Soviet missile snooping U-2 for some surveillance flights over Haiti. No, they’re not looking for Hugo Chavez’s secret stash of SS-3s. Instead the U-2 will use its SYERS-2 multispectrum imagery capability to detect damage to buried fuel lines, water mains and possible chemical spills.

But it also seems that Global Hawk has made some flybys as early as the 13th, one day after the horrific earthquake that killed an estimated 50,000.

The spy drone reportedly was sent to assess infrastructure for US military and relief deployments…

A story on the base’s web site quoted Lt. Col. Mark Lozier, operations officer with the 12th Reconnaissance Squadron: “In effect, you get to look at what we know is damaged, and what we know is still serviceable. We can take a look at airfields to assess, right now, whether or not we will be able to get airlift in there with aid. We don’t have to wait for a ground team to get in there and make on site decisions.”

Makes you wonder if being a SEAL or Recon Marine is getting to be a lonely job since GH is doing the eyeballing those guys used to do. Although the Air Force also sent a special tactics team to assess airfields and set up air traffic control for incoming US mil flights.

Anyway, we’re covering the relief operations and military deployments with the entire Military​.com, DoD Buzz and DT team and will dispatch the latest in technology and policy-related information here.

PS — Our own Jamie McIntyre of Line of Departure is scheduled to do a flyover of Haiti in an Air Force OC-135 on Saturday. So be sure to check here and LOD for the latest on that mission.

– Christian

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Wulff January 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Interesting stuff. It would have never crossed my mind that recon aircraft would be used in this relief op, but it makes sense.

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stephen russell January 16, 2010 at 1:21 am

Bravo, kudos, Good idea.
Now Predators can IE damages etc for Rescue Teams & use 3D maps to make new roads etc.
Bring in more.
Use from USS Bataan for support & from So FL or Gitmo Bay alone.
Recon the countryside alone for wrecks etc.
Good posotive Test for Drones

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Charles January 18, 2010 at 3:06 am

"Recon the country"? A job that takes a lot of people a lot longer than a few days, and especially as the NRO is probably better trained at identifying hidden weapon sites in mountains and SAM batteries as opposed to wrecked infrastructure.

It's a interesting idea, but first time out the door it might not be running 100%.

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kim January 18, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Not a bad way of using the military stuff. Last year here in Copenhagen, Denmark they had F16 fly around at 1,500 feet for a full week, photomapping the city. Annoyed the s*** out of everybody save for us plane buffs (and man, were they loud…), and of course it could have been done a lot cheaper and less noisy with different aircraft. But then the pilots needed the air time doing this.

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rugerblake January 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Good stuff. Just an idea to be discarded. Maybe you could do a piece about how the military is really the most effective aid relief organization. Not that I want them doing this but there are aspects of it they could train the trainer as they say to make the govt. & aid organizations more efficient.

Sorry, some of that post illustrated some of my insanity.

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