Predator- Series UAS Family Achieves One Million Flight Hours

Predator- Series UAS Family Achieves One Million Flight Hours


Apr 06, 2010

GA-ASI Continues to Lead the Industry in Delivering Unmatched Soldier Support

SAN DIEGO, CA — General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA‑ASI), a leading manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), tactical reconnaissance radars, and surveillance systems, today announced that its Predator®-series UAS has reached a historic industry milestone, with combat missions over the past weekend pushing its proven aircraft family over the one million flight hours mark. The milestone encompasses just under 80,000 total missions, with over 85-percent of all missions flown in combat.

“The business of GA-ASI is the development of transformational systems which deliver paradigm changing results,” said J. Neal Blue, Chairman and CEO, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. “The achievement of this historic milestone is a testament to the success enjoyed by Predator-series unmanned aircraft systems – clearly one of the game changers and life savers of the day.”

The identification of the specific aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone will not be known until mid-May due to delayed flight hours reporting from the field. Predator-series UAS are in constant daily operations supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the U.K.’s Royal Air Force, and other customers. Over 400 aircraft have been produced since the first Predator UAS took flight in 1994, including Predator A, I-GNAT® ER/Sky Warrior® Alpha, Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, Sky Warrior, and Predator C Avenger®, among others.

“This combined customer accomplishment reflects the high demand that in-theater commanders have for the Predator product, as well as the exceptional contributions of our employees, suppliers, and partners,” said Frank Pace, newly appointed president of GA-ASI’s Aircraft Systems Group.

Predator-series flight hours have seen tremendous growth in recent years, with annual totals increasing from 80,000 hours in 2006, to 130,000 hours in 2007, 235,000 hours in 2008, and 295,000 hours in 2009. The one million flight hours milestone also comes at a time of great synergy for GA-ASI and its major customers, with the U.S. Air Force announcing on March 12 that it has surpassed 700,000 flight hours for the MQ-1B Predator UAS and the U.S. Army revealing that it is on track to mark one million flight hours for its UAS inventory this month.

“As Col. Greg Gonzalez and Maj. Gen. James Myles noted in announcing the Army’s upcoming UAS flight hours milestone, the real achievement is what one million represents – one million hours of operating a technology that keeps our soldiers safer and enables them and their commanders to see the enemy and themselves in ways they never could before,” added Pace.

Predator-series aircraft are currently logging nearly 30,000 flight hours a month supporting U.S. coalition forces in combat and with homeland security requirements. Every second of every day, 40 aircraft are airborne worldwide providing persistent surveillance and precision strike support in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other world hot spots; protecting the nation’s borders; and conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support following wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes. These aircraft continue to maintain the highest operational availability rates not only in U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army aviation, but also in the U.K. inventory. GA-ASI is currently building eight Predator-series UAS and seven ground control stations (GCS) per month, with the capacity to double production if needed.

High-resolution photos of Predator-series aircraft are available upon request from the GA-ASI’s media contact listed below.

About GA-ASI

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc., an affiliate of General Atomics, delivers situational awareness by providing unmanned aircraft, radar, and electro-optic solutions for military and commercial applications worldwide. The company’s Aircraft Systems Group is a leading designer and manufacturer of proven, reliable unmanned aircraft systems, including Predator A, Predator B, Sky Warrior, and the new Predator C Avenger. It also manufactures a variety of solid-state digital ground control stations (GCSs), including the next-generation Advanced Cockpit GCS, and provides pilot training and support services for UAS field operations. The Reconnaissance Systems Group designs, manufactures, and integrates the Lynx® SAR/GMTI radar and sophisticated CLAW® sensor control and image analysis software into both manned and unmanned aircraft. It also integrates other sensor and communication equipment into manned ISR aircraft and develops emerging technologies in solid-state lasers, electro-optic sensors, and ultra-wideband data links for government applications. For more information, please visit

Predator, Sky Warrior, Avenger, Lynx, and CLAW are registered trademarks of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.

For more information contact:

Kimberly Kasitz

Public Relations Manager

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.