The QF-16 will replace the legacy QF-4 Phantom as the next generation aerial target, with missions that encompass manned combat training profiles and unmanned live-fire threat scenarios at Tyndall AFB and Holloman AFB, N.M. The technology in the QF-16 represents the next generation in advanced aerial targets designed to support the testing of new air-to-air weapons and evaluation programs. The ultimate goal is to improve mission effectiveness and maintain air superiority for the USAF.
Currently, QF-4s are used as targets to test pilots, aircraft and weapons before they reach the battlefield. The QF-16 program has been in development for the past five years and recently completed a successful test and evaluation phase that led to delivery of the first aircraft. Boeing will have at least 60 aircraft planned for delivery from the Drone Peculiar Equipment production line to the USAF’s 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron. The aircraft are converted to the QF-16 configuration at Boeing Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Check out this video of the QF-16 in action: