QF-16 is a manned/unmanned aerial target and threat simulator serving missile/weapons development, testing, validation, and training.
QF-16s began replacing the dwindling and obsolescent QF-4 Full-Scale Aerial Target (FSAT) starting in 2015, through the type’s retirement in December 2017.
QF-16s are capable of manned or “not under live local operator” (NULLO) control operations. The first of 13 LRIP QF-16s was delivered to Tyndall in early 2015.
Boeing is under contract to deliver 121 converted airframes in five production lots through April 2021. FY21 funds procure 13 conversions, and a follow-on sixth lot contract for 13 airframes is expected in mid-FY21.
ACC declared IOC with 15 operational aircraft in 2016. Ongoing efforts include developing EA pods/pod improvements and software to more accurately replicate adversary capabilities and tactics, ground-control modernization, and threat realism/countermeasure improvements.
Boeing and USAF opened a second QF-16 conversion line at Davis Monthan to augment production at Cecil Field in Jacksonville, Fla., which delivered its first airframe in mid-2020.
Contractors: Lockheed Martin; Boeing (drone conversion).
First Flight: May 4, 2012.
Delivered: February 2015-present.
IOC: Sept. 23, 2016.
Production: 126 (planned).
Inventory: 7 (QF-16A); 36 (QF-16C).
Aircraft Location: Tyndall AFB, Fla., Holloman AFB, N.M.
Active Variants: •QF-16A. Converted from retired F-16A Block 15. •QF-16C. Converted from retired F-16C Block 25 and Block 30.
Dimensions: Span 32.8 ft, length 49.3 ft, height 16.7 ft.
Weight: Max T-O 37,500 lb.
Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-200 turbofan, 23,830 lb thrust (Block 15); Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-220 turbofan, 23,830 lb thrust (Block 25); GE Aviation F110-GE-100 turbofan, 29,000 lb thrust (Block 30).
Performance: Speed Mach 2, ferry range 2,000+ miles.
Ceiling: 50,000 ft.
Defensive Systems: Chaff/flares; EA pods: ALQ-188, ALQ-167.
Accommodation: Safety pilot (optional) on ACES II zero/zero ejection seat.