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.
The Air Force’s plans for its portion of joint all-domain command and control have taken a major step forward. The service awarded an indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, multiple-award contract worth up to $950 million to 27 companies.