WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio: The Air Force accepted MQ-1 Predator tail number 268, the final MQ-1 manufactured for the service, in a ceremony March 3.

Col. James Beissner, the chief of Air Combat Command’s Irregular Warfare Division, accepted the aircraft on behalf of the Air Force.

“This event marks a milestone in Air Force history given the path this aircraft took from conception to operational excellence,” said Col. Christopher Coombs, the chief of the Aeronautical Systems Center’s Medium Altitude Unmanned Aircraft Systems Division. “The Predator is a great example of the Air Force’s response to an immediate warfighter need.”

Since its first flight in July 1994, the MQ-1 series has accumulated over 900,000 flight hours and maintained a fleet fully mission capable rate over 90 percent, making it one of the warfighter’s most valuable assets, Colonel Coombs said.

The MQ-1 is a medium-altitude, long-endurance, remotely piloted aircraft. Its primary missions are close air support, air interdiction, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It acts as a joint forces air component commander-owned theater asset for reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of the joint forces commander.

(Courtesy of 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs)