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Air Force Flight Test Center's 452nd Flight Test Squadron stands up new detachment

EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A stand up ceremony to recognize the formation of the 452nd Flight Test Squadron's, Detachment 1, took place Jan. 12 at the Gray Buttes-El Mirage test facility located about 20 miles southeast of here.

Detachment 1, under the command of Maj. Fred Bivetto, will provide Development Test and Evaluation for the Predator "A" and "B" weapons system for delivery to the warfighter.

Detachment 1, in operation since June 2005 and officially activated on Nov. 9, is a Combined Test Force comprised of seven permanently assigned personnel as well as personnel, from the Predator Systems Squadron at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center's, Detachment 5, the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron and contractors from General Atomics' Rancho Bernardo facility.

"Det 1's DT&E is a new expansion of the 452nds' (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) flight test mission," said Lt. Col. Douglas Jaquish, 452nd FLTS commander.

Predator is a Remotely Operated Vehicle, flown by a pilot and sensor operator who can be hundreds of miles away.

"Predator is an offensive weapon from finding, tracking, engaging and assessing the target. It has an indigenous capability to perform the kill chain," Colonel Jaquish said.

The Predator "A" is an armed version of the RQ-1 Predator. The RQ-1 was originally designed as an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform, or ISR. The Predator "A" is able to accomplish a ground attack role as well as reconnaissance. Predator "A" usually flies at 15,000 feet, but can go as high as 25,000 feet. It can stay airborne for more than 24 hours with a 450-pound payload.

Predator "B" is a larger, faster version of the Predator. It has been referred to as the Hunter-Killer. The 950-horsepower TP331-10 Turboprop can propel the "B" at speeds up to 299 miles per hour. Weighing in at 10,000 pounds at take-off, the "B" can carry 3,000 pounds of fuel and 3,000 pounds of air-to-surface weapons. It has a more powerful and upgraded radar system than the "A," since the "B" is expected to operate as a strike platform. Without external stores Predator "B" can stay aloft for 32 hours at altitudes above 50,000 feet.

"The Predator is a multi-customer platform that is actively engaged in the Global War on Terrorism," Colonel Jaquish said.

Predators were engaged in Operation Allied Force over Kosovo in 1998. Since then, the Predator has been involved in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq in the Global War on Terror.

"The Air Force Predator Flight Test Team's pace is fast and furious down at the El Mirage/Gray Butte Flight Test Facilities," said Maj. Bivetto, the new Det. 1 commander. "We are bringing new capabilities to the frontlines of the Global War on Terror everyday - I am honored to be a part of this fantastic team!"

Major Bivetto is a Global Hawk Pilot and is currently in training as a Predator "A" and "B" pilot.

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