Airmen perform a pre-flight check on a MQ-9 Reaper at an
undisclosed location in Southwest Asia, on Jan. 16, 2019. Air Force photo by SSgt. Jeremy Mosier.
The Air Force’s remotely piloted aircraft community hit a milestone
March 1 as the combined MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fleet surpassed
four million flight hours.
The two aircraft, which have been the
backbone of USAF intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance since
the Predator was introduced in 1996, are the main component of 24-hour
ISR and persistence attack, along with search and rescue.
hit the two million flying hour mark in 2012, and the MQ-9 itself is
expected to reach two million hours this summer, according to an Air
By comparison, the RC-135 Rivet Joint has flown about one million
hours, and the U-2 has flown 485,000 hours, according to the Air Force.
The Predator retired last year as the Air Force moved toward an all MQ-9 fleet.
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