> our title:

GA Marks 10 Years of Italian AF Predator Operations

> original title:

Italian Air Force: 10 Years of “Predator”…10 Light Years Ahead…

(Source: General Atomics Aeronautical; issued June 16, 2015)

Please note the following article issued recently by the Italian Ministry of Defense (Aeronautica Militare Italiana [AMI]). To complement this article, quotes from General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) and Italian Air Force leadership are offered below, along with a relevant summary.

“GA-ASI is proud of our support of AMI over the last decade” said Linden Blue, CEO, GA-ASI. “The varied missions flown by AMI’s Predator–series Remotely Piloted Aircraft highlight its versatility in delivering valued surveillance information. Notably, its contributions to AMI’s Operation Mare Nostrum and continuing Mediterranean search and rescue efforts are helping save lives at sea.”

Specifically, AMI Predator A and Predator B/MQ-9 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) operated by 28 Squadron, 32 Wing Amendola, played integral roles in the nearly year-long Operation Mare Nostrum which involved operation to locate and coordinate aid in rescuing migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in makeshift boats from Northern Africa to Italy.

MQ-9 provided real-time imagery of boats adrift loaded with migrants to the Air Operation Centre and was shared with the Navy Operational Command that then deployed the appropriate rescue assets. Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR), video, and maritime surface-search radar sensors are very effective in long-range detection and identification of migrant vessels. Operators identified the MQ-9 as a significant enhancement to supporting past and continuing Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, along with search and rescue missions over both land and sea.

“MQ-9 proved instrumental in our efforts to coordinate resources and rescue migrants whose boats were incapacitated and were dangerously floating adrift,” said an official from the Italian Air Force. “The aircraft’s surface-search radar detections resulted in EO/IR imagery of the migrant vessels which was disseminated in real-time to our AMI, Coast Guard, and Navy commanders, allowing them to understand how many victims were aboard the boats and the extent to which the boats were damaged, and enabling us to vector in the appropriate Navy vessel to perform the rescue. This capability has significantly enhanced our ability to save lives and provide coastal surveillance which continues today.”