Warplanes: The Year Of The Reaper

Two months ago, the U.S. MQ-1 Predator UAV fleet hit a million hours in the air. Over 20 percent of those hours were flown this year. The Predator replacement, the MQ-9 reaper has flown nearly 250,000 hours so far. America’s large UAVs (MQ-1, MQ-1C, MQ-9, RQ-4 and RQ-170) flew some 400,000 hours this year. That’s compared to 300,000 hours last year, 185,000 hours in 2009 and 151,000 hours in 2008. It took 12 years of service (1995-2007, including development) for the MQ-1 Predator alone to reach its first 250,000 hours. It took another two years (2007-2009) to fly an additional 250,000 hours (500,000 total). It took less than a year to reach another 250,000 hour milestone (Spring 2010).

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