General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), tactical reconnaissance radars, and electro-optic surveillance systems, today announced that a U.S. Air Force (USAF) Predator® RPA has reached a record 20,000 flight hours on a single aircraft, the highest flight time of any USAF Predator. The milestone was achieved by Predator 107 (P107) while performing a 21-hour combat mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on May 5.
“Amassing 20,000 hours on a single RPA airframe is a remarkable achievement and a true testament to the GA-ASI team, which strives to create highly reliable, durable, and life-saving tools in support of the warfighter,” said Frank W. Pace, president, Aircraft Systems Group, GA-ASI. “With the highest Mission Capable Rate of any aircraft in the Air Force inventory, Predators will be available to support our boots on the ground for many years to come.”
P107 was delivered to USAF in October 2004, where it began service with the 57th Wing Air Combat Command (ACC). In June 2008, the aircraft was transferred to the 432d Wing with the standup of the first USAF Remotely Piloted Aircraft Wing. Over 95 percent of P107’s flight time has been flown in combat in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO).
Providing essential situational awareness for the warfighter, Predators continue to excel in combat missions focusing on Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), targeting, forward air control, laser designation, weapons delivery, and bomb damage assessment. Predator was first flown in 1994 and is the first-ever weaponized RPA, featuring precision air-to-ground weapons delivery capability. Arguably the most successful RPA in history, the aircraft has deployed to the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other world trouble spots.