The US military is using a new technology to save lives: the helicopter.
The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday it’s using a small drone called the V-22 Osprey to help save lives in its search and rescue missions.
V-22s have been the backbone of US military operations since the Vietnam War, but they are aging and in short supply.
A V-21B Ospreay is used in the search and recovery missions for the Marine Corps and the Navy, while V-220 Ospreys are used in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s the first time the Air Force is using V-222s for search and rescues in the Pacific.
“We are excited to be using V22s to save countless lives during these challenging times,” Air Force Col. Mark Pincus, the V22 program manager, said in a statement.
“As we continue to recover from Hurricane Florence, we are confident that V-242s will be able to quickly respond to our mission and help save countless others.”
In addition to the V2-24, the Air Service has four V-23s and two V-24s.
More than 30,000 flights of V-221s are expected to be completed by the end of the year, according to the Air National Guard.
These helicopters are used to search and evacuate downed aircraft and search for survivors on the ground.
For now, they’re used for aerial rescues of downed and injured aircraft, like the one that hit an aircraft in the Philippines.
In October, the Navy announced it was going to buy a V-232 for the search-and-rescue missions, but the Pentagon has not announced whether it will use them for this type of mission.