Fighting 49ers say farewell to Predator

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Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Stacy Jonsgaard

An MQ-1 Predator taxies under water from a fire hose during its final flight Feb. 27, 2017 at Holloman Air Force N.M. The MQ-1 Predator has provided many years of service and is being phased out of service as the Air Force transitions to the more capable MQ-9 Reaper. The MQ-1 Predator is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets.

 
Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico retired its MQ-1 mission Feb. 27, 2017, during a ceremony at the base.

“Today we close the chapter of the MQ-1 Predator here at Holloman,” said James G. Clark, the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Modernization and Infrastructure; Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR, Headquarters United States Air Force. “The MQ-1 was a revolution. It changed the way of aviation. Risk taking leadership and innovators saw the vision of the MQ-1 and made this airframe a success.”

Originally called the RQ-1 Predator System and later re-named the MQ-1 Predator in 2002 after the addition of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, the remotely piloted aircraft system is an armed, multi-mission, long-endurance aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset.

An MQ-1 Predator parks after its final flight Feb. 27, 2017 at Holloman Air Force N.M.

“The MQ-1 has almost four million flying hours with 92 percent of those hours being combat hours,” Clark said. “What you [RPA aircrew] do matters.”

Holloman AFB’s 6th Attack Squadron has graduated 752 pilots and 544 sensor operators on this airframe. The RPA mission at Holloman will now transition solely to the MQ-9 Reaper.

“When I took command of the 6th Attack Squadron, I was told to double the outcome of pilots and sensor operators, with half the manning to do so,” said Lt. Col. Geoff Fukumoto, 6th ATKS commander. “We graduated every MQ-1 Predator class early. Take this time to reflect on the part you play in history. Thank you to the community and Airman for the superb work, job well done.”

A static MQ-1 Predator will be on display in Heritage Park.
 

Aircrew for the MQ-1 Predator are sprayed down with water and champagne after the MQ-1’s final flight Feb. 27, 2017 at Holloman Air Force N.M. The MQ-1 Predator has provided many years of service and is being phased out of service as the Air Force transitions to the more capable MQ-9 Reaper.

 

An Airman unveils James G. Clark, the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Modernization and Infrastructure; Deputy Chief of Staff for ISR, and Abraham Karem, the founding father of the unmanned aerial vehicle technology and designer of the Predator, names on the static MQ-1 Predator at a ceremony that will be displayed in Heritage Park at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., Feb. 27, 2017.