The Air Force says its MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle fleet has amassed more than 250,000 flying hours. A Predator flying from UAV-central at Creech AFB, Nev. blew past the quarter-mil mark on June 22. The much-in-demand UAV began its operational career flying reconnaissance missions over the Balkans in the mid-1990s and graduated to a weapons-carrier for use in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Air Force says Predators are airborne in Southwest Asia 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.