Over 80 Percent Of Time Spent In Combat
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) announced
this week its Predator UAS series has passed the milestone of
300,000 flight hours, with over 80-percent of that time spent in
combat. The milestone was achieved by P-135 on June 15, while it
performed an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Operation
Iraqi Freedom. This particular aircraft has flown over 125 combat
missions in just the one year it has been deployed.
Predator series aircraft have flown an average of 8,200 hours
per month over the past six months while maintaining the highest
operational readiness rates in the U.S. military aircraft
inventory. Over the past five-and-a-half years, monthly flight
hours have increased 93-percent, growing from approximately 800
hours per month since 9/11 to over 11,000 hours last month.
"Now with an experience base of more than 300,000 flight hours,
no other UAS manufacturer can match the combat-proven, unparalleled
performance and exceptional reliability of the Predator family,"
said GA-ASI Aircraft Systems Group President Thomas J. Cassidy, Jr.
at this week's Paris Air Show. "Providing essential situational
awareness to the warfighter, these long-endurance aircraft systems
provide continuous intelligence while engaged in such missions as
surveillance, armed reconnaissance, targeting, forward air control,
laser designation, weapons delivery, and bomb damage
GA-ASI has manufactured a combined total of well over 250
aircraft since 1993. The Sky Warrior Armed Reconnaissance System
(ARS) will be delivered to the US Army in late 2007 to provide
long-endurance, armed reconnaissance for the Army warfighter. In
the interim, Sky Warrior Alphas have been delivered and are
actively engaged in combat operations over Iraq.
The multi-mission Predator B is in production and provides a
long-endurance, persistent surveillance/strike capability, with the
ability to fly at the optimum altitude from sea level to over
50,000 feet. The all-altitude Mariner UAS provides global maritime
Predator series aircraft are in constant daily operations
supporting the US Air Force, US Army, US Navy, US Department of
Homeland Security (DHS)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP), NASA,
Italian Air Force, Turkish Army, and soon the Royal Air Force.
These aircraft have been deployed in world trouble spots on five
continents worldwide, including operations in the Balkans, Iraq and
Afghanistan, as well as over three of the world’s oceans.