Thursday, October 24, 2013

Well, That's ONE Way to Look At It...

From the Usual USAF Source:
Two Million Flight Hours for Predator-Reaper Fleet
The Air Force's fleet of MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft this week hit the mark of two million total flight hours since the service began flying Predators in 1995, announced RPA operators at Creech AFB, Nev., on Wednesday. A hand-picked crew from Creech controlled the MQ-1 that reached the milestone flight hour on Oct. 22, states the base's release. "There is just no way to describe what an amazing event that was," said Col. James Cluff, commander of Creech's 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing. It took the Air Force from 1995 to April 2011 to reach one million flight hours, but only an additional two-and-a-half years to accumulate the next million, according to the release. "The fact that commanders have had this [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] and precision-strike capability from remotely piloted aircraft when and where they have needed it for so long is a remarkable milestone," said Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, head of Air Forces Central Command. "But perhaps the bigger story and true achievement has been the unwavering dedication of the men and women who have made this capability available for such a sustained period of time. They have saved lives and made us and our coalition partners safer and more secure," he said.
One wonders just how many hours USAF's drone fleet would have accumulated if Obama were not the president.  Then again, USAF isn't the only outfit flying Preds and Reapers; the CIA has a rather large fleet of the beasties, as well.  It's gub'mint policy to "neither confirm nor deny" drone strikes and the agency that performs those strikes... in most cases.  As for me?  I get totally weirded-out whenever I go out to Cannon Airplane Patch and see a Pred shooting touch-'n'-goes.  Which they do.  Weird, I tell ya.  Just WEIRD.


  1. I thought that the USAF fought tooth and claw to keep from arming drones and only caved when the CIA bought a bunch and asked the army for some Hellfire missiles to hang on them.
    I was working at a place with all the message traffic and remember reading one that was the final cause report on the loss of a drone in 2004 or so. It turns out that they were so rare back then that the control frequencies were not split out among drones and while doing some ground testing on one drone they sent the drone the command to shut down the engine. Another drone that had been flying hundreds of miles away received the command and turned off its engine and crashed before the pilot could figure out why the thing stopped.

    That's the slow way to rack of hours of flight.... :)

    1. I think you're right about the arming of RPAs, Curtis. I remember reading the same thing about the CIA as a background piece on Obama's extensive use of drone strikes. That control frequency error is quite the story, too.


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