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General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA‑ASI) announced on 14 July 2023 that its family of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAVs), which includes the Predator, Reaper, Gray Eagle, Avenger, and MQ-9B SkyGuardian/SeaGuardian lines, has surpassed eight million flight hours.

GA-ASI UAVs have completed 566,000 total missions in nearly 40 countries around the world, the company noted.

The MQ-9B SeaGuardian, of which the Indian Ministry of Defence approved the procurement of 31 in June this year. These UAVs will predominantly be used by the Indian Navy in the Indian Ocean Region. (Photo: GA-ASI)

“The exact aircraft and customer that achieved the milestone is unknown,” the company stated, “as it is estimated that more than 50 Predator-class medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAVs are airborne worldwide every moment of every day.”

GA-ASI UAVs average 40,000 hours per month, supporting programmes with the US Air Force, US Army, US Marine Corps, NASA, the Italian Air Force, the UK Royal Air Force, the French Air Force, the United Arab Emirates Armed Forces, the Spanish Air Force, the Royal Netherlands Air Force, the Indian Navy, the Polish Air Force, the Japan Coast Guard, the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force, and others.

GA-ASI has been at the forefront of UAV adoption worldwide. The company has produced more than 1,000 UAVs and nearly 500 ground control stations in more than three decades of business.

Peter Felstead