Next-generation Combat Training

The QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target will provide the next generation of combat training and testing for U.S. warfighters. Retired F-16 aircraft are converted into QF-16 aerial targets for the purpose of testing newly developed weapons and tactics. The QF-16 will replace the existing QF-4 fleet, and provide a higher capability, fourth generation aerial target that is more representative of today’s targets and threats.

QF-16 Technical Specifications

Primary Function Full-scale aerial target
Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant F-16A/C: one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 or General Electric F110-GE-100/129
F-16 Maneuverability Fully maintained, including supersonic speeds and 9g turns
Radar Cross Section 4 to 4.5 generation capability
Countermeasures F-16 chaff & flares; EA pods, ALQ-188 & ALQ-167
120nm GRDCS datalink Improved TVI clock/position, data latency, and frequency stability
Weapon Accuracy Scoring Improved Doppler system
Range Safety Flight termination qualified to RCC-319

Feature Stories

Once Hunters, Now Hunted: Retired F-16s Become Targets

Once Hunters, Now Hunted: Retired F-16s Become Targets

May 3, 2016 in Defense

A Boeing team is converting retired Lockheed Martin F-16s into unmanned, remote-controlled targets for the Air Force to use in pilot training. Some will be blasted out of the sky during air-to-air training engagements.

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Test Missile Fired at QF-16

August 26, 2014 in Defense

See the QF-16 aerial target perform as a missile is fired at it. The QF-16 will help fighter pilots sharpen their air-to-air combat skills.

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The Unmanned Moving Target

The Unmanned Moving Target

August 26, 2014 in Innovation, Defense

Fighter pilots sharpen their air-to-air combat skills by battling unmanned F-16s.

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On Target: F-16 Flies with an Empty Cockpit

September 23, 2013 in Defense, Technology

As a pilotless F-16 roared into the sky at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., members of Boeing’s QF-16 team and the U.S. Air Force celebrated.

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QF-16 Customer

The F-16 “Fighting Falcon,” nicknamed the “Viper,” originally entered service as a versatile, cost-effective and durable fighter jet. Currently, the aircraft serves 26 nations, including the United States. For the QF-16, Boeing takes the older versions of the fighter jet and modifies them to fly unmanned. The 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, in the U.S. Air Force, then uses this version for live-fire tests.

QF-16 Quick Facts

  • The Boeing team leverages the capabilities of the entire Boeing Company for execution of the QF-16 aerial target program.
  • The QF-16 has Peculiar Support Equipment with improved test and fault isolation.
  • All eight wing stations are active, pre-wired spare payload discrete, and have a modular payload design for easy programmability.
  • Boeing and the U.S. Air Force completed the first unmanned flight of the QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target on Sept. 23, 2013, at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla.
  • The QF-16 mission profile included auto takeoff, a series of simulated maneuvers, supersonic flight and an auto land all without a pilot in the cockpit.
  • Testing on the six aircraft continues at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.