JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An old plane being decked out with new technology. It's becoming a new weapon for the United States Navy's 4th Fleet based in Jacksonville.
"Were able to map areas that we know drug traffickers use in Central America and one flight of this is equal to 130-plus days of a ship trying to do the same thing," said Rear Admiral Sinclair Harris, 4th Fleet commander.
The DC-3 may look familiar. It was made famous in WWII as the workhorse of the military. Tuesday, Harris is inspecting it before sending it to the Caribbean and Central America on deployment. The imaging system installed on board will map the coastline.
"If you will, it's like a disco ball, spins around and shoots lasers down and maps the topography below you," said pilot James Haffey.
Harris called this a key step forward. While the 4th Fleet has faced setbacks in recent months because of across-the-board budget cuts known as sequestration, he said they're constantly looking for ways to do more with less.
And he said the old plane is the perfect chance to revamp past successes.
"It just shows you just the ingenuity that we have in the American technology -- here, a 1940 aircraft doing a 2013 mission," Harris said.
The plane will also be utilized during natural disasters like hurricanes to determine the best spots to deliver help and supplies.
It will deploy this fall.