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Ten Evolution class UAVs are flying out of the New Orleans Naval Air Station to relay photos of the devastation to the Air Force. These "backpack"-size UAVs are being used to assess damage to the region's infrastructure, including damage to oil and gas facilities, dikes, and berms. This is the largest civilian mission for UAVs to date.
The Evolution weighs 6.5 pounds, is powered by lithium batteries, and can stay aloft for an hour or two, depending on the mission type. It has a range of at least 10 kilometers and can carry a color TV camera, low-light TV camera, or an infrared (heat sensing camera). The Evolution typically operates at an altitude of 300 feet.