The 188th Wing of the Arkansas Air National Guard began surveillance and analysis support Thursday to Hurricane Florence responders.

While the mission will be based at the 188th Wing in Fort Smith, a variety of different federal, state and local authorities on the East Coast will benefit from the 188th’s domestic operation. Airmen with the 188th are using unclassified processing, analysis and dissemination (UPAD) equipment, as well as commercially available software, and non-secure networks, according to Maj. Will Phillips, state public affairs officer for the Arkansas National Guard.

When tasked for domestic operations in response to requests for assistance from civil authorities in cases of emergencies and natural disasters, the 188th Wing is capable of processing and analyzing information from multiple sources, including commercial satellites, Civil Air Patrol aircraft, UH-72 Lakota and RC-26 Metroliners, Phillips explained.

The 188th’s mission is to “analyze images and interpret raw data from a number of sources and transform the material into decision-quality information to provide a picture of the affected region,” he noted.

“This provides civil authorities the resources needed to make critical decisions as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Phillips added.

The 500-mile wide hurricane is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas on Friday. The 188th’s mission could continue through Wednesday.