General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI), has announced that its Predator®-series family of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), which includes the Predator, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and Avenger® lines, has achieved a historic industry milestone of five million flight hours.
Achieved on April 4, the milestone encompassed 360,311 total missions completed with more than 90% of all missions flown in combat.
“Five million flight hours is a testament to the reliability of our RPA systems that are designed, built, and maintained by a dedicated group of skilled and innovative professionals for operations around the world,” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.
“Our 25-year history has produced a list of ‘firsts’ in RPA development and we have leveraged this progress to apply the latest technology and advancement in our new and improved aircraft, such as the MQ-9B SkyGuardian™.”
The identification of the specific aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown as every second of every day, 69 Predator-class Medium-altitude, Long-endurance aircraft are airborne worldwide.
(Learn More. The General Atomics MQ-1C Gray Eagle manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is an extended range / multipurpose (ER/MP) unmanned aircraft system (UAS) developed from the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator. Courtesy of Fast Aviation Data and YouTube)
Flight hours have continued to grow at unprecedented rates in recent years, with 500,000 flight hours achieved from 1993 to 2008, one million hours in 2010, two million hours in 2012, three million hours in 2014, and four million hours in 2016.
“The demand for persistent situational awareness using GA-ASI RPA is demonstrated daily through the increasing accumulation of flight hours,” added David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.
“This demand is consistently answered by our team of employees, suppliers, and partners who work hard to meet our customers’ dynamic mission requirements.”
GA-ASI’s Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper fleet recently passed its own historic milestone, achieving two million flight hours on November 12, 2017 after flying approximately 143,279 total sorties.
Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper flight hours now account for approximately 40 percent of GA-ASI’s five million total flight hours and are increasing at an average rate of 37,000 hours a month.
(See in Action! The MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1 Predator, during a series of touch and go exercises in Nevada, Fort Drum, New York. Courtesy of New York Air National Guard by Master Sgt. Eric Miller, War Clashes and YouTube)