A seven-year-old Predator drone made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in Poway has completed a record 20,000 hours of flight, the company announced Monday.
General Atomics said the Predator B/MQ-9 Reaper, which first flew Jan. 31, 2008, reached the 20,000 flight hours milestone while performing a 17-hour combat mission in Afghanistan last month.
“Accumulating 20,000 hours on a lone Predator B airframe is a major engineering milestone that can be traced back to our talented and resourceful GA-ASI Engineering team, who continue to develop highly resilient, reliable, and affordable platforms that continue to keep warfighters safe every day overseas,” said Linden P. Blue, CEO of the company.
The record-breaking aircraft has accumulated 1,355 flights, almost all overseas.
The multi-mission Predator B is a long-endurance aircraft that can be used for surveillance, military reconnaissance and targeting missions. It has a maximum altitude of 50,000 feet and can stay aloft for up to 27 hours.
Predator B is currently operational with the U.S., British, French and Italian air forces. There are 230 Predator B aircraft in use.