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
RT @PACAF: @109thAW Airmen prepare a #LC130 for take-off to Christchurch #NewZealand, Oct. 31. in support of the @NSF managed U.S. Antarcti…
RT @USAF_ACC: Awesome story on @usairforce Air Combat Command Captain supporting his daughter by cheering in sync with her at her football…
RT @cmsaf18: Leaders, listen up. Please speak with your teammates about their #financial readiness. Help them learn & lead them to the AFRC…
Interested in becoming a #pilot? Don't let height concerns stand in your way. Read on for stature requirements here: https://t.co/l1FoZt3nYL
RT @BullisSchool: Today in celebration of our veterans, we welcomed U.S. Air Force Col. D’Anne E. Spence and Master Navigator and Pentagon…
RT @DeptofDefense: Bringing the fight anywhere in any weather! These @usairforce special operators are in Norway, practicing with CV-22 Osp…
RT @PACAF: Working alongside our sister services, allies, and partners allows us to be ready, resilient, and postured for the future. @AusA
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Today we swore in 20 recruits @PhoenixRaceway making them part of the greatest @usairforce on the planet. What better…
RT @DeptofDefense: .@AndersenAFBGuam is one of the world’s most historic Air Force bases! Where did it get its name? Click ▶️ to find out!…
Happy 244th birthday @USMC! Give us a call whenever you need some #airpower. #HappyBirthdayMarines https://t.co/P4yjU1iJLW
RT @AETCommand: #ICYMI: @81trwKeeslerAFB leadership officiated the opening of "The Lighthouse" inside the Larcher Chapel! Read more ⬇️ on t…
Last weekend @SecAFOfficial Barbara Barrett was publicly sworn in as the 25th Secretary of the #AirForce. See the h… https://t.co/1ZGrs8ku0y
As we prepare to honor #veterans around the world, the next generation of #Airmen were sworn in to the #USAF by Ge… https://t.co/sJkvcgrYSI
RT @AirMobilityCmd: Amid devastation, our Airmen go above and beyond to help their local communities to ensure their safety. The @Travis60A
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: .@SecAFOfficial, @cmsaf18 & I held our first town hall this week. Secretary Barrett discussed modernization, readiness…
It was an @AirMobilityCmd takeover @TODAYshow this morning. Hear Gen. Maryanne Miller's story and see her swear in… https://t.co/vrf3UAYxOV
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Tune in to see our very own Director of Staff, Lt. Gen. Jackie Van Ovost, representing the best Air Force in the world…
.@GenDaveGoldfein discussed the implications and effects of unpredictable funding this week. Associated risks inclu… https://t.co/hGKne3fhmd