Two General Atomics-built remotely piloted aircraft reached the mark of 4M flight hours on March 1. The MQ-9 Reaper and the MQ-1B Predator have carried out 24-hour reconnaissance, attack, search and rescue missions to support various combatant commands, the U.S. Air Force said Monday.
“To all who made this happen, to include the design and manufacturing of the aircraft and who continue to adapt these devices to emerging threats, our wholehearted thanks and admiration," said Jim Roche, secretary of the Air Force.
The service branch fielded its Predator aircraft fleet in 1996 and began decommissioning in 2018, while the Reaper units began deployment in 2007 and are maintained in Air Force bases within South Dakota, Nevada, Missouri and South Carolina. The aircraft systems flew 2M mission hours in 2012 followed by a record of 3M hours in 2016.