Only 7 Months After Passing The 500,000 Hour Milestone
Airmen of the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech AFB in
Nevada surpassed the 600,000 flight hour mark in the MQ-1 Predator
unmanned aircraft system September 4th.
The Predator fleet passed 250,000 hours in June 2007, after 12
years of flying, and it only took a year and eight months for the
aircraft to fly an additional 250,000 hours to reach 500,000 flying
hours in February 2009. Due to the continuous demand for the
aircraft by combatant commanders, the Predator reached 600,000
flying hours seven months later.
An aircrew from the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron flew this
milestone mission in support of overseas contingency operations.
"We are proud to be a part of yet another RPV milestone and will
continue to make significant contributions in the future," said Lt.
Col. Robert Kiebler, the 15th RS commander. "The men and women of
the 15th RS provide continuous 24/7/365 intelligence, surveillance
and reconnaissance, close-air support, and combat search and rescue
capability to support the warfighters in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their dedication and commitment in the face of adversity is nothing
short of astounding."
MQ-1 Predator File Photo
Fielded in 1995, the Predator's primary mission is to provide
armed reconnaissance, airborne surveillance and target acquisition
to commanders in the field. The Predator can be armed with two
laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and carries the
Multispectral Targeting System, which integrates electro-optical,
infrared, laser designator and illuminator into a single sensor
Col. Pete Gersten, the 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing
commander, said the capabilities of the Predator have made the
aircraft a vital asset to the joint ground forces in Afghanistan
and Iraq. "The Predator provides our ground forces direct support
with its unblinking eye and persistent stare, 24 hours a day, 365
days a year," Colonel Gersten said. "This milestone is a true
testament to the impact this capability has in the fight."
MQ-1 Predator Ground Station
Currently there are more than 31 Predator combat air patrols
flying 24/7, 365 days a year over Iraq and Afghanistan.