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Predator Passes 20,000-Hour
Mark in Afghanistan
by Capt. Brian Maguire, 451st
Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs.
Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – (AFNS)
– –May 28, 2013 – An MQ-1 Predator assigned here recently became the first
Predator to pass 20,000 flying hours over Afghanistan, a feat equivalent to
flying 15 hours every other day, for 2,667 days.
While the Predator remotely piloted aircraft program
surpassed one million hours of total development, test, training and combat in
August 2011, this is the first airframe to accumulate 20,000 flying hours
"Reaching this milestone is significant, but what's more
special are the missions we enable every day," said Lt. Col. Russ Garner, 62nd
Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron commander. "
Maintainers are the key to enabling a single airframe to
reach so many hours, Garner said. Maintenance keeps the aircraft flying,
especially through the extreme weather in Afghanistan, he added.
"Without maintainers we couldn't reach this milestone, let
alone get in the air," the squadron commander said. "This achievement is really
a tribute to our maintainers."
A team of military and civilian personnel maintain and repair
The mission of the 62nd ERS is to provide launch and recovery
for RPA assigned to the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing here.
"With only two percent of the RPA aircrew [in the career
field deployed here], we're enabling 98 percent of the mission," Garner said. "During
their deployment there are no days off for the crew, while they set an
unbelievable operations tempo."
The MQ-1 and MQ-9 Reaper are assigned to the squadron and
conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, and close-air support
missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The aircraft are operated by
Airmen with the 62nd ERS, U.S. crews located stateside and Royal Air Force crews
in the United Kingdom