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MQ-9A Passes Two Million Flight Hours

Our Bureau - : Mar 3, 2022 - : 6:29 am

The MQ-9A Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) has surpassed 2 million flight hours in support of global customers.

The workhorse unmanned aircraft from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) combines unmatched persistence and mission flexibility with a >90% Mission Capable Rate, which puts the MQ-9A in a class by itself.

“We developed the MQ-9A to set the standard for persistent surveillance and rapid strike capability, and it’s delivered on expectations,” said GA-ASI Vice President of DoD Strategic Development, J.R. Reid. “The effectiveness of a military aircraft can be measured in how often its used (total flight hours) and in its readiness to perform, and the MQ-9A exceeds in performance on both metrics.”

When combined with the flight hours of other GA-ASI aircraft, which includes Predator A and Predator XP; Predator B Extended Range (ER), Guardian, Gray Eagle and Gray Eagle ER; Predator C Avenger; and MQ-9B SkyGuardian and SeaGuardian, the total flight hours for the GA-ASI fleet exceed 7.2 million, supporting close to 500,000 missions.

GA-ASI aircraft average more than 48,000 hours per month supporting the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the UAE Armed Forces, and the Indian Government. New MQ-9As are currently being delivered to the Royal Netherlands Air Force.

Missions include helping protect ground units on the battlefield; supporting first responders in the wake of natural disasters; and providing critical ISR around the world. The company has a host of additional reconnaissance, surveillance, and communications payloads in development and early fielding.

The MQ-9A Block 5 has endurance of over 27 hours, speeds of 240 KTAS and can operate up to 50,000 feet. It has a 3,850-pound (1,746-kilogram) payload capacity that includes 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of external stores. It provides a long-endurance, persistent surveillance capability with Full-Motion Video and Synthetic Aperture Radar/Moving Target Indicator/Maritime Radar. An extremely reliable aircraft, MQ-9A Block 5 is equipped with a fault-tolerant flight control system and triple redundant avionics system architecture. It is engineered to meet and exceed manned aircraft reliability standards.

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