US Air Force (USAF) General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. MQ-1 Predators made their last operational flights on 9 March, bringing 23 years of near-continuous operations by the iconic unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to an end.
The USAF’s 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base (AFB) in Nevada, which is the focal point for the United States’ global UAV operations, marked the retirement with a local flight of an MQ-1B controlled by airmen of the 489th Attack Squadron. At about the same time, a final Predator combat flight was flown by the 15th Expeditionary Attack Squadron over an undisclosed location.
The service has been trying to retire the Predator for a decade to make way for an all-MQ-9 Reaper force, but insatiable demand from US theatre commanders led the USAF keeping the MQ-1 in service.
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