Monday, September 19, 2016

Air Force on track to retire Predator drones by 2018

The Air Force announced recently that its last squadron operating MQ-1 Predators has launched its first MQ-9 Reaper, the Predator’s larger and more capable cousin.

“Maintainers assigned to the 432d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tiger Aircraft Maintenance Unit, launched their first-ever MQ-9 Reaper Aug. 25, 2016,” the Air Force release stated. “Tiger AMU is the last active duty squadron maintaining the MQ-1 Predator and has started transitioning to the MQ-9 Reaper to meet current and future warfighter requirements.”

The Air Force had set a date of 2018 to officially retire its fleet of Predators and replace them with an all Reaper fleet, and is still on track to meet MQ-1 retirement by 2018, an Air Force spokeswoman told C4SIRNET in an email.

Additionally, they said there are four active duty and three Air National Guard MQ-1 squadrons operating in combat with two active duty squadrons conducting MQ-1 training for a total of nine squadrons supporting MQ-1 operations.  more