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Predator passes 700,000 hours

Published: Fri March 19th, 2010 via: Air Combat Command

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Airmen of the 432d Air Expeditionary Wing made history March 12 when they surpassed the 700,000 flight hour mark in the MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft.

The last 200,000 Predator hours were flown in just over 12 months compared to 19 months to fly the previous 250,000 hours and 12.5 years for the first 250,000 hours.

Remotely piloted aircraft are one of the highest demanded assets on today's battlefield, said Col. Peter Gersten, 432d Wing and 432d Air Expeditionary Wing commander.

"Over the past year, our Predator fleet has averaged over 16,500 hours per month," Colonel Gersten said. "This incredible rate is a testament to our commitment, as Hunters, to keeping our ground troops safe under our watchful eye."

The MQ-1B'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 package.

The unarmed version of the Predator, designated the RQ-1, recently flew missions over Haiti successfully providing relief officials key intelligence to help direct resources to earthquake victims who needed it most.

The MQ-9 Reaper, also flown by the 432d, surpassed 80,000 flight hours just one week prior to the Predator reaching 700,000 hours.

For more information on 432d Wing assets, visit www.creech.af.mil.


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