HomeAbout UsFact SheetsDisplay

QF-4 Aerial Target

A QF-4 Aerial Target is in flight as it is tracked by a missile at Tyndall AFB, Fla. The aerial targets are used to test weapons. (Courtesy photo)

A QF-4 Aerial Target is in flight as it is tracked by a missile at Tyndall AFB, Fla. The aerial targets are used to test weapons. (Courtesy photo)

Mission
The supersonic QF-4 is a reusable full-scale, remotely piloted aerial target modified from the F-4 Phantom. The QF-4 provides a realistic full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Holloman AFB, N.M.

Features
The QF-4 is a remotely controlled target, which simulates enemy aircraft maneuvers. The aerial target can be flown by remote control or with a safety pilot to monitor its performance. The QF-4 is flown unmanned when missiles are fired at it, and only in specific over-water airspace authorized for unmanned flight. When flown unmanned, an explosive device is placed in the QF-4 to destroy the aircraft if it inadvertently becomes uncontrollable.

The QF-4 is equipped to carry electronic and infrared countermeasures to fully evaluate fighters and weapons flown and fired against it. Full-scale aircraft can be flown totally by computer, or controlled manually during takeoff and landing using a mobile control station located at the runway. As a safety precaution, a chase plane trails the QF-4 during critical periods of flight.

Background
First flown in May 1958, the Phantom II originally was developed for U.S. Navy fleet defense and entered service in 1961. The Air Force evaluated it as the F-110A Spectre for close air support, interdiction and counter-air operations. In 1962, U.S. Air Force version was approved. The Air Force's Phantom II was designated F-4C, and first flew May 27, 1963. Production deliveries began in November 1963.

The F-4 was the primary fighter-bomber aircraft in the U.S. Air Force throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  F-4s also flew reconnaissance and "Wild Weasel" anti-aircraft missile suppression missions. Phantom II production ended in 1979.

The modified F-4 became the QF-4. It is the successor to the QF-106 in the Air Force aerial target inventory.

The aerial target fleet is operated and maintained by the 82d Aerial Targets Squadron, located at Tyndall AFB. The squadron is a subordinate unit of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group at Tyndall AFB. The 53rd WEG reports to the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla. The QF-4 program attained initial operational capability in 1997.

General Characteristics
Primary function:
Full-scale aerial target
QF-4 Modification Contractor: BAE Systems
F-4 Prime Contractor: McDonnell Aircraft Co.
Power plant: Two General Electric turbojet engines with afterburners
Wingspan: 38 feet, 15 inches (11.7 meters)
Length: 63 feet, 1(9.2 meters)
Height: 16 feet, 6 inches (5 meters)
Weight: 30,328 pounds (13,757 kilograms)
Maximum Launch Weight: 62,000 pounds (28,030 kilograms)
Speed: 1,600 mph (Mach 2)
Ceiling: 60,000 feet (18,182 meters)
Range: 1,300 miles
Cost: $2.6 million (aerial target conversion)
Initial operating capability: 1997
Inventory: Active force, 84

Engage

Facebook Twitter
The innovative thoughts & immediate actions of #JBER #Airmen ensured the Alaska Mission Operations Center had water… https://t.co/hl0zIIa05q
.@NCAirGuard #Airmen and @914ARW Reservists combined recipes for a rare hands-on experience. https://t.co/IAZ6LYrtzO https://t.co/WtjF4fITxh
Bringing the #futurefaster! @Offutt_AFB #Airmen bring ideas to life, build partnerships with academia through a ne… https://t.co/ujNSaBZxEL
Check out Years in Photos for 2018! Which is your favorite? https://t.co/bIHYI8aFCk https://t.co/B2K842alnA
.@AirNatlGuard #Airmen refreshed their skills in self-aid buddy care, #EOD recognition & chemical warfare decontami… https://t.co/t5z0UtzeGa
.@SECAFOfficial and @GenDaveGoldfein stress the importance of projecting airpower over the #Arctic.… https://t.co/dLg0DGDWZL
RT @USAFHealth: Don’t let your dreams of becoming a doctor be stopped by financial burdens. Staff Sgt. Clifford Mua, Medical Technician, 12…
#HurricaneMichael created nearly 15M Ibs of scrap & over 450 uninhabitable buildings @TeamTyndall. Defense Logistic… https://t.co/nS72x3KRxa
#PATRICKAFB #Airmen streamline transportation & shipping operations to efficiently manage its fleet of vehicles and… https://t.co/zV2rTW7vQh
#ICYM what's happening #AroundtheAirForce: Space Flag 19-1, #AirForce Pitch Day, and Alaska @AirNatlGuard rescue mi… https://t.co/XMD9Ex058l
An #AirForce B-2 Spirit bomber takes off from @JointBasePHH, Jan. 14, 2019. Bomber aircraft regularly rotate throug… https://t.co/VFh0VRJLN4
Calling all #Airmen! The #AirForce seeks game changing innovations through the inaugural Vice Chief of Staff Challe… https://t.co/jLBsAs5pvA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Today I had the chance to sit at the controls of our next training jet & meet with the dedicated team building the T-X…
Airfield management #Airmen are on the flight line every day upkeeping all runways, taxiways, aprons and infields t… https://t.co/hldtrFFmie
CORRECTION: Col. Joe Jackson, a USAF Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Saturday. Jackson's amazing story includ… https://t.co/3QRZdCoywd
RT @AirmanMagazine: The @usairforce is accelerating the acquisitions process, getting new capabilities into our warfighters' hands faster.…
Aerial porter #Airmen use Tunner 60K Loaders to ensure these mission essential necessities make it to their final d… https://t.co/JJQGKp3DE2
Defenders who have donned the blue beret understand what is asked of them. Specifically, the training they must com… https://t.co/roTOT3Erkq
#NorthCarolina @AirNatlGuard #Airmen install and validate satellite communications during Operation Deep Freeze in… https://t.co/4qp1QGx4Kg