QF-16 Target Drones Coming Soon

Aircraft maintainers with the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., have been restoring six retired early-model F-16s from desert storage for use as full-scale targets. They are regenerating both F-16As and F-16Cs in support of Boeing’s work in converting older F-16s into QF-16 target drones for the Air Force. So far, these maintainers have delivered three of the six F-16s to Boeing’s facility in Jacksonville, Fla. The fourth is scheduled to arrive there in early August, while work on the remaining two continues. Boeing will use these six airframes as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation during the QF-16 program’s developmental phase. Overall, the company has been tasked to modify up to 126 retired F-16s into QF-16s, which, starting around 2014, will succeed the QF-4 as full-scale target drones used in weapons testing. (Davis-Monthan report by SSgt. Vanessa Young)