The MQ-1C Predator A+ Remotely Piloted Plane System (RPAS) has been retired after 18 years and +30,000 flight hours.
On Dec. 19, 2022, with a switch flight from the 61° Gruppo (Squadron) APR (Aeromobili a Pilotaggio Remoto – Remotely Piloted Plane) at Sigonella, to the 32° Stormo (Wing) at Amendola, the operational profession of the MQ-1C Predator A+ within the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Pressure) has come to an finish. Noteworthy, the Italian designation for what was simply an upgraded variant of the baseline RQ-1B Predator A was the identical utilized by the producer Basic Atomics Aeronautical Techniques for the extra superior MQ-1C Gray Eagle.
The primary Italian Air Pressure Predator unmanned plane had been delivered in December 2004 and carried out the primary operational missions in January 2005. Since then, the RPAS has accomplished over 3800 sorties, logging greater than 31,000 flight hours, 20K of these had been carried out by the 28° Gruppo out of Amendola, and the remaining by the 61° Gruppo out of Sigonella.
Curiously, 70% of the Predator A+ flight hours had been carried out in operational missions and solely 30% in coaching: some distinctive statistics amongst all of the plane in service with the Aeronautica Militare. Able to ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) duties in addition to Goal Acquisition in help of CAS (Shut Air Help) and CSAR (Fight Search And Rescue) missions, the Italian Predators have been concerned in quite a few army and coalition missions overseas (together with Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libya, the Horn of Africa and Kuwait), the place they’ve contributed to the safety of troops on the bottom by means of a treasured monitoring and surveillance actions from above, particularly for the unarmed escort of convoys in a hostile setting, for the invention of improvised gadgets and for the monitoring of operational targets.
At residence, the Predators have contributed to the public order, search and rescue and environmental monitoring operations, flying in help of the Civil Safety Division in addition to different civilian companies.
“In trendy operational theaters, Data Superiority represents a component of important strategic significance, with out which each and every effort and even probably the most trendy system can be ineffective”, mentioned Col. Roberto Massarotto, Commander of the thirty second Wing, throughout a part out ceremony at Amendola. “To meet the brand new missions that had been taking form, starting in 2004, the Air Pressure outfitted itself with the MQ-1 system, an plane that’s not quick, however whose persistence, discretion, silence, assortment and dissemination of information capability, together with the potential for twin use are unrivalled by different methods. Nonetheless, the successes obtained by this platform would by no means have been achieved with out the dear work of the women and men of the 61st and twenty eighth Gruppo. A useful and tiring job, which is carried out away from the highlight, in silence, the place nobody can see or hear you and maybe with out with the ability to share, with these near you, the satisfaction of a very necessary success”.
Till the MQ-1C was retired, the 32° Stormo and its two youngster items, the 28° Gruppo primarily based at Amendola, and the 61° Gruppo, indifferent to Sigonella, in Sicily, operated a blended fleet of MQ-1C Predator A+ and MQ-9A Predator B RPVs (Remotely Piloted Autos). With the retirement of the MQ-1C, the ISTAR exercise of the 32° Stormo is carried out by the extra succesful MQ-9A Predator B. The Italian Air Pressure has acquired six of those between 2008 and 2009. One was lost over Libya in 2019.
The 32° Stormo is a fairly distinctive Wing throughout the Italian Air Pressure because it operates 4 various kinds of plane (5 till the Predator A+ was phased out): the F-35A and F-35B Lightning II, the MB.339, and Predator B. Furthermore, out of the three Gruppi relying from the thirty second Wing Commander, solely the 13° and 28° are primarily based in Amendola for the reason that 61° Gruppo, as defined, is ahead primarily based to Sigonella, Sicily.