Predator Airframe Surpasses 20,000 Flying Hours

An MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft assigned to Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, recently became the first Predator airframe to accumulate 20,000 flying hours over Afghanistan, according to a release from the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing. This feat is the equivalent of flying this Predator 15 hours every other day for 2,667 days, states the wing’s May 28 release. “Reaching this milestone is significant, but what’s more special are the missions we enable every day,” said Lt. Col. Russ Garner, 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron commander. MQ-1s carry cameras for overhead surveillance; they are also capable of firing missiles at ground targets. Garner credited the work of Kandahar’s RPA maintainers for this Predator reaching this flight-hour total. “Without maintainers we couldn’t reach this milestone, let alone get in the air,” he said. He also noted the “unbelievable operations tempo” at which the members of the squadron function in launching and recovering the Predator and MQ-9 Reaper RPAs that operate from Kandahar. (Kandahar report by Capt. Brian Maguire)