Some 11 inches of rain dumped on parts of South Texas by Hurricane Dolly prompted the state to ask a neighbor for use of one of its Air National Guard RC-26 counter-drug surveillance aircraft. Texas Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Charles Rodriguez said, “I called [his counterpart in Mississippi] and requested that the aircraft be diverted [from assignment in Tennessee] to Texas for an immediate response, 72-hour-type mission to help with the life-threatening situation.” The approval was immediate, he said. Since their use after Hurricane Katrina, RC-26 aircraft have received system upgrades that enable them to download live video feeds. In Texas, the aircraft’s crew searched for stranded people and tracked the flooding threat, which had left many roads under water and disrupted power throughout the area. In one instance, the aircraft’s video feed told emergency responders that early reports of a dam failure were wrong, enabling officials to direct stretched resources elsewhere. (Texas Military Forces report by Sgt. Maj. Bob Dashman)
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.