Predator and Reaper fleet reach 4 million flight hours
- March 13, 2019
U.S. Air Force’s MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fleet have jointly reached more than 4 million flight hours for attack and reconnaissance, and search and rescue.
The MQ-1B entered the Air Force fleet in 1996 and retired in 2018, and the MQ-9 mission began in 2007.
The Predator and Reaper have now been flown more than 4 million hours in support of a 24-hour mission around the world conducting persistent attack and reconnaissance; search and rescue and strike and support to civil authority missions in support of multiple combatant commands.
In contrast, here is how a few other reconnaissance asset flight hours stack up: The RC-135V/W Rivet Joint has flown a little more than 1 million hours and the U-2 Dragon Lady has flown 485,000 hours. Both of those numbers are calculated over the lifetime of the program, with data being gathered as far back as the 1960s.
The flight hours are a testament to the value of the aircraft. The MQ-1 and MQ-9 hit the 2 million hour mark in 2012, the 3 million hour mark in 2016 and the 4 million hour mark in March of 2019. Separately, the MQ-9 itself is anticipated to hit the 2 million hour mark this summer.