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Not only are satellites being called into action. Dispatched from Beale Air Force Base in California on September 1, a U-2 Dragonlady aircraft conducted a surveillance flyover of hard-hit areas due to Hurricane Katrina.

During a six-hour mission, the piloted U-2 put to use an Optical Bar Camera (OBC), hardware ideal for photographing very large areas with high resolution. The OBC, or film-based imagery equipment utilized, can collect imagery over 90,000 square nautical miles.

Film taken during the high-altitude run by the U-2 is in support of FEMA to assist in disaster relief efforts, according to a U.S. Air Force press statement.

From ACC:

Personnel at the 548th IG’s 9th Intelligence Squadron have processed more than 3.5 miles of Optical Bar Camera, OBC, film from U-2 aircraft missions to help aid FEMA and humanitarian relief efforts.

“The film covered approximately 130,000 square miles of area providing imagery of nearly all of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and parts of Florida and a few other states in the area,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Kubick, 9th Intelligence Squadron commander.

The squadron scanned and digitized more than 1000 images from the OBC film at USNORTHCOM’s request since operations began over areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina last week, Colonel Kubick said.

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