Tue, Mar 08, 2011
More Than 800 People On Hand For The Delivery Ceremony
The U.S. Air Force accepted MQ-1 Predator tail number 268, the
last manufactured for the service, in a ceremony Thursday at
General Atomics' Gray Butte Aeronautical Systems' Flight Ops
Col. James Beissner, Air Combat Command's Chief Irregular
Warfare Division, accepted the aircraft on behalf of the Air Force
in front of a crowd of more than 800.
"This event marks a milestone in Air Force history given the
path this Aircraft took from conception to operational excellence,"
said Col. Christopher Coombs, Aeronautical Systems Center's Chief
of Medium Altitude UAS Division. "The Predator is a great example
of the Air Force's response to an immediate Warfighter need."
"The hand-off of the last MQ-1 Predator to our U.S. Air Force
customer commemorates not only what has been accomplished, but what
we are still looking forward to achieve," said Frank W. Pace,
president, Aircraft Systems Group, General Atomics Aeronautical
Systems, Inc. "17 years, 268 aircraft, and 920,000 flight
hours later, our signature Predator A UAS line will continue to
change the way we fight wars for many more years to come."
Since its first flight in July of 1994, the MQ-1 series has
accumulated over 900,000 flight hours and maintained a fleet fully
mission capable rate over 90 percent, making it one of the
Warfighters most valuable assets, according to Colonel
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