GA-ASI's Predator-series family of RPAs reaches five million flight hour mark



On April 4, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.’s (GA‑ASI) Predator-series family of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA)—made up of Predator, Predator B, Gray Eagle, and Avenger lines—reached the five million flight hour mark.

At the time of the achievement, a total of 360,311 missions had been completed, with more than 90 percent of all missions flown in combat.

“Five million flight hours is a testament to the reliability of our RPA systems that are designed, built, and maintained by a dedicated group of skilled and innovative professionals for operations around the world,” says Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI.

“Our 25-year history has produced a list of ‘firsts’ in RPA development and we have leveraged this progress to apply the latest technology and advancement in our new and improved aircraft, such as the MQ-9B SkyGuardian.”

It is unknown which specific aircraft and customer achieved the milestone, being that 69 Predator-class Medium-altitude, Long-endurance aircraft are airborne worldwide, every second of every day.

In recent years, flight hours have continued to grow at “unprecedented rates,” GA-ASI says. 500,000 flight hours were achieved from 1993 to 2008, one million hours in 2010, two million hours in 2012, three million hours in 2014, and four million hours in 2016.

“The demand for persistent situational awareness using GA-ASI RPA is demonstrated daily through the increasing accumulation of flight hours,” comments David R. Alexander, president, Aircraft Systems, GA-ASI.

“This demand is consistently answered by our team of employees, suppliers, and partners who work hard to meet our customers’ dynamic mission requirements.”

In November 2017, GA-ASI’s Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper fleet reached two million flight hours, after flying approximately 143,279 total sorties.

Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper flight hours now account for approximately 40 percent of GA-ASI’s five million total flight hours, and GA-ASI says that they are increasing at an average rate of 37,000 hours a month.