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Fri, Mar 04, 2022

MQ-9 Reaches 2 Million Flight Hours

Military UAV Continues To Rack Up Experience with Operators Around the World

The MQ-9 Program has passed 2 million flight hours in service around the world, proving the General Atomics UAV's place as the standby in duty-ready autonomous aircraft. 

The MQ-9 has made it all the way to Block 5 in its life cycle, now boasting 27 hours of endurance at speeds up to 240 knots up to a ceiling of 50,000 feet. Using its embedded video capture, synthetic aperture radar, and more, the aircraft is a reliable choice for a remote controlled eye in the sky. According to management in charge of the program, the MQ-9 boasts a mission capable rate far in excess of 90%, something they hold "puts it in a class by itself." When combined with other aircraft in the remotely piloted General Atomics portfolio, nearly 7.2 million hours across more than half a million missions have been flown. On average, company aircraft fly more than 48,000 hours every month in service with a variety of customers throughout NATO and assorted governments around the world. 

While the typical expectation of the type is that of a combat reconnaissance vehicle, actual users report a variety of duties including "helping protect ground units on the battlefield; supporting first responders in the wake of natural disasters; and providing critical ISR around the world." General Atomics says additional functionality is on the way, saying "a host of additional reconnaissance, surveillance, and communications payloads" are currently in development and early fielding. 

“We developed the MQ-9A to set the standard for persistent surveillance and rapid strike capability, and it’s delivered on expectations,” said GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development, J.R. Reid. “The effectiveness of a military aircraft can be measured in how often it is used and in its readiness to perform, and the MQ-9A exceeds in performance on both metrics.”



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