This website uses cookies to manage authentication, navigation, and other functions. By using our website, you agree that we can place these types of cookies on your device.

Boeing delivered first production QF-16 full-scale aerial target to Tyndall Air Force Base

a
Aviation defence equipment technology - USAF First QF-16 target drone
 
 
Boeing delivered first production QF-16 full-scale aerial target to Tyndall Air Force Base
 
The USAF's Tyndall Air Force Aerial Target Division has a new target. Since March 11, the division has access to the QF-16, an unmanned F-16 it will use in exercises with its F-22 squadron. The QF-16s are based at the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, but some are being sent to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, a geographically separated unit of the 53rd Wing, headquartered at Eglin.
     
The USAF's Tyndall Air Force Aerial Target Division has a new target. Since March 11, the division has access to the QF-16, an unmanned F-16 it will use in exercises with its F-22 squadron. The QF-16s are based at the 96th Test Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, but some are being sent to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, a geographically separated unit of the 53rd Wing, headquartered at Eglin. Tyndall AFB's QF-16 full-scale aerial target
(Credit: USAF)
     
Tyndall eventually will receive 13 QF-16s, which can be operated by a pilot or as a drone.

Tyndall still is using the QF-4 in training, but the QF-16 will replace the QF-4, an unmanned McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II, as the next-generation aerial target. While the F-4 is still in service by Middle Eastern air forces, such as Iran as recently as December, the F-16 provides a next-generation fighter jet.

It’s a more nimble aircraft,” Tyndall Public Affairs Officer Chris Bowyer-Meeder said.

The Tyndall Aerial Target Division will, from time to time, shoot down its target jets, Bowyer-Meeder said. However, the planes also are equipped with sensors to register a hit in training.

Today culminates five years of hard work and dedication beginning with a development program, completing a rigorous test and evaluation phase that has ultimately led to the first operational delivery of the QF-16,” said Michele Hafers, director, test and training division at Eglin AFB.

The first QF-16 was delivered to Tyndall 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 F-16 Fighting Falcon. The emergence of U.S. 5th generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II means American forces need an advanced target similar to what they would actually find on the battle field.