Fighting 49ers say farewell to Predator

Holloman Air Force Base N.M. --

Holloman Air Force Base retired its MQ-1 mission Feb. 27, 2017 during a ceremony here.

“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.

“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.