The Italian Air Force 32° Stormo (32nd Wing) Armando Boetto MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted aircraft deployed at the Alì Al Salem air base in Kuwait have reached the prestigious milestone of 10,000 flight hours in theater. The aircraft are supplied to the Araba Fenice Task Group of the IT NCC Air / TFA-K (Italian National Contingent Command Air / Task Force Air-Kuwait). The Air Force Predators MQ-1 Predator are engaged in ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) missions and express the ability, constantly recognized by the Coalition leadership, to scrutinize and monitor the approaches to the areas of operations and other areas at risk, promptly distributing actionable information in operations against DAESH.
This result arrives a few days after the Predator MQ-9 and MQ-1 of the 32nd Wing reached the 50,000 flight hours. The 32nd Wing “Armando Boetto” (Italian: 32° Stormo “Armando Boetto”) is a military aviation unit of the Italian Air Force, equipped with both attack aircraft (F-35A) and unmanned aerial vehicles for ISTAR missions (Predator MQ-1C and Reaper). Operating from the Italian bases at Amendola and Sigonella, they are engaged domestically in support of public safety operations, guaranteeing an important contribution to information-gathering in the central Mediterranean area and a precious military collaboration for civil security thanks to specific memorandums of understanding with the police.
The General Atomics MQ-1 Predator is an American remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) built by General Atomics that was used primarily by the United States Air Force (USAF) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Initially conceived in the early 1990s for aerial reconnaissance and forward observation roles, the Predator carries cameras and other sensors. It was modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other munitions. The aircraft entered service in 1995, and saw combat in the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the NATO intervention in Bosnia, Serbia, the Iraq War, Yemen, the 2011 Libyan civil war, the 2014 intervention in Syria, and Somalia.
The U.S. Air Force describes the Predator as a “Tier II” MALE UAS (medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft system). The UAS consists of four aircraft or “air vehicles” with sensors, a ground control station (GCS), and a primary satellite link communication suite. Powered by a Rotax engine and driven by a propeller, the air vehicle can fly up to 400 nmi (460 mi; 740 km) to a target, loiter overhead for 14 hours, then return to its base. The RQ-1 Predator was the primary remotely piloted aircraft used for offensive operations by the USAF and the CIA in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal areas from 2001 until the introduction of the MQ-9 Reaper; it has also been deployed elsewhere.