QF-16 Completes 1st Pilotless Flight

The U.S. Air Force has completed the first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flight.

Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. The QF-16 mission profile included auto takeoff, a series of simulated manoeuvres, supersonic flight, and an auto land.

The flight initiates more operational evaluations, including a live fire test at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Both the Navy, Army and Air Force will ultimately use QF-16s for weapons testing and other training.

Boeing has modified six F-16s into the QF-16 configuration. Low-rate initial production is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter, with first production deliveries in 2015.

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