Boeing announced Tuesday that modified versions of the F-16 Fighting Falcon will operate as a QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target for use in Air Force training practices. Last week, two Air Force pilots controlled the first successful flight from the ground station at Florida’s Tydall Air Force Base.
The maiden flight departed from the runway as normal and completed a series of simulated maneuvers in the air over the Gulf of Mexico, surpassing the speed of sound and landing safely.
“It was a little different to see it without anyone in it, but it was a great flight all the way around,” said US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Inman, the commander of the 82nd Aerial targets Squadron. “It’s a replication of current, real world situations and aircraft platforms they can shoot as a target. Now we have a 9G capable, highly sustainable aerial target.”