Predator passes 500,000 flight hours
US-Drohne stellt neuen Einsatzrekord auf<br /> Airmen of the 432d Air Expeditionary Wing here flew an MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft in a combat mission in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility Feb. 18, and the flight surpassed the 500,000 flight-hour mark for the aircraft. Members of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron flew the milestone mission in support of operations in Iraq.
"A half-a-million flying hours is an amazing accomplishment, and the Airmen of the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron are proud to be a part of this milestone," said Lt. Col. Ken Callahan, the 15th RS director of operations. "The 15th RS currently flies 28 percent of all MQ-1 Predator combat air patrols over Iraq and Afghanistan, and we're able to meet the needs of the joint force commanders for this no-fail 24/7 combat operations mission because of the hard work and dedication of our total force team of active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen here."
Declared operational 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 laser illuminator into a single sensor package. The Predator fleet passed 250,000 hours in June 2007, after 12 years of flying. It only took a year and eight months to fly the additional 250,000 hours due to continuous demand for the aircraft by combatant commanders.