HomeNewsArticle Display

First unmanned QF-16 flight takes place

A QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron takes off on its first unmanned flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Sept. 19, 2013. The 82nd ATRS operates the Department of Defense’s only full-scale aerial target program. The QF-16 will provide a fourth generation fighter representation of real world threats . (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz)

A QF-16 full scale aerial target from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron takes off on its first unmanned flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Sept. 19, 2013. The 82nd ATRS operates the Department of Defense’s only full-scale aerial target program. The QF-16 will provide a fourth generation fighter representation of real world threats . (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Javier Cruz)

A QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron flies over the Gulf of Mexico during its first unmanned flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 19. The 82nd ATRS operates the Department of Defense’s only full-scale aerial target program. The QF-16 will provide fourth generation fighter representation of real world threats for testing and training, say operators. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. J. Scott Wilcox)

A QF-16 full scale aerial target from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron flies over the Gulf of Mexico during its first unmanned flight at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Sept. 19. The 82nd ATRS operates the Department of Defense’s only full-scale aerial target program. The QF-16 will provide fourth generation fighter representation of real world threats for testing and training, say operators. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. J. Scott Wilcox)

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFNS) -- The QF-16 full scale aerial target's inaugural unmanned flight occurred Sept. 19.

The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron and Boeing Co. conducted the flight, which is the first step in a two year process to phase out the QF-4 full scale aerial target.

"The QF-4 did a good job for many years, but it's time to turn the page in the aerial target program. This program will bring us into the 4th generation aircraft," said Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, the 82nd ATRS commander. "And will provide us with a mission capable, very sustainable aerial target to take us into the next 10 to 20 years."

A pilot performed all normal preflight checks before climbing out of the cockpit and locking the canopy from the outside. Control was then turned over to Thomas Mudge, a 82nd ATRS pilot controller, sitting in a control room on the opposite side of base. The QF-16 took off at 3 p.m. for an hour long mission profile including take off, conducting a series of simulated maneuvers and reaching supersonic speeds before returning to base and landing.

"The flight itself went very well," Mudge said. "Its performance and abilities are great and we're looking forward to this airplane."

The first QF-16 was delivered to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in November 2012 for operational and developmental testing to ensure their viability for aerial targets. The QF-16 is a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target modified from an F16 Fighting Falcon. The emergence of U.S. 5th generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning means American forces need an advanced target, similar to what they would actually find on the battle field.

"It takes it to the next generation, which now provides the shooters an aircraft that is completely a replication of current real world situations," Inman said. "The new targets will allow the Air Force and allied nations to have a realistic understanding of what they could face."

With successful testing at Tyndall AFB complete, the targets will be now move to Holloman AFB, N.M., to begin testing on an air-to-ground system. They will be part of live-fire testing before being sent back to Tyndall AFB for operation.

The 82nd ATRS is part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, which falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla. The unit operates the Department of Defense's only full-scale aerial target program, which provides Air Force, Navy, Marine and Army customers targets for developmental and operational tests.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @WrightPattAFB: Acoustics researchers in AFRL's 711th Human Performance Wing are collecting and delivering acoustics data from hardened…
Get in on the conversation and be sure to subscribe. Link below. https://t.co/tV4TDUMVBK
RT @USAFHealth: Regulating body temperature can mean the difference between life and death. The Air Force is looking into a technology to m…
RT @PACAF: #PACAF photo of the week comes from @EielsonAirForce! This #Airman is testing a new #F35 arctic survival kit. https://t.co/FTAH…
RT @grandslamwing: @SecAFOfficial and @GenDaveGoldfein have arrived to the Grand Slam Wing! Barrett and Goldfein met with AUAB and Qatari l…
RT @AirMobilityCmd: A HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter assigned to @DMAFB was delivered to @MacDill_AFB via a C-5 Super Galaxy assigned to Dover…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Airmen from @Spangdahlem_AB trained at #BlueFlag Israel with partners and allies like the Hellenic air force @wwwairforcegr
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: What an honor to accompany @SecAFOfficial on her first trip to meet our deployed #Airmen. Looking forward to introduci…
#USAF's 555th Fighter Squadron a.k.a the Triple Nickel and their F-16 Fighting Falcons recently deployed for the fi… https://t.co/0qCMua0WAi
RT @FedExField: Swearing-In Ceremony during the @Redskins #SaluteToService Game. 🇺🇸 https://t.co/pox97AAekX
RT @HQUSAFEPA: Watch USAFE-AFAFRICA Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Basham & @RoyalAirForce Air Marshal Gerry M. Mayhew explain why our strong U.…
RT @cmsaf18: “You (don’t) become a #leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top.” - W…
RT @USAFCENT: SHARED COMMITMENT | The Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Staff MG Pilot Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabet, met with Lt. Gen. Gu…
RT @HQ_AFMC: Our teams at the @AFResearchLab are forever #innovating ... even in the ways they approach problem solving! #creativity #Airme
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Let there be no mistake about our continued commitment to the region. I look forward to continuing the important dialo…
RT @DeptofDefense: A @usairforce airman w/the 909th Air Refueling Squadron, performs refuel training w/ROK Air Force F-16D Falcon during a…
RT @AFGlobalStrike: When you spend 24 hour alerts in the silo, it becomes a second home… Learn about how the 341st Force Support Squadron a…
.@GenDaveGoldfein engaged recruits this past #VeteransDay weekend, asking each why they chose to serve prior to con… https://t.co/vToX52rixv