As a pilotless F-16 roared into the sky last week at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., members of Boeing’s QF-16 team and the U.S. Air Force celebrated.
Two U.S. Air Force test pilots in a ground control station at Tydall remotely flew the QF-16, which is a retired F-16 jet modified to be an aerial target. While in the air, the QF-16 mission included a series of simulated maneuvers, reaching supersonic speeds, returning to base and landing, all without a pilot in the cockpit.
Boeing has modified six F-16s into the QF-16 configuration.
Prior to the QF-16, the military used a QF-4 aircraft, which was a modification of the F-4 Phantom, a Vietnam-era fighter The modified QF-16 provides pilots a target that performs closer to many jets flying today
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