Warplanes: Predator Flight Time Rises


November 2, 2005: The MQ-1 Predator UAV has flown over
100,000 hours in combat zones so far, and the UAVs are currently logging
4-5,000 hours a month. There about a hundred Predators in service, with several
dozen in Iraq. Most of the Predators overseas are "flown" by crews based in the
United States (via a satellite link). The U.S. Air Force has bought 125 so far,
and has just ordered another fifteen. As popular, and in demand, Predator is,
the ground troops are buying and using hundreds of smaller UAVs. These aircraft
are very popular with the troops, both for combat operations, and for security
(guard duty) in general. Predator remains very popular because of its excellent
sensor equipment, reliability and "persistence" (the many hours it can stay
over an area.)


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