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.
The QF-16 is based on the F-16A and F-16C, the single-seat versions of the U.S. Air Force’s single-engine supersonic, multi-role tactical aircraft.
During “Combat Archer” the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron uses the unmanned QF-16 as a target for live-fire tests over the Gulf of Mexico.
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.
Boeing receives the F-16 as it was delivered to the U.S. Air Force, and installs a number of systems on the aircraft to make it unmanned.
|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|
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.Learn More
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.Learn More
August 26, 2014 in Innovation, Defense
Fighter pilots sharpen their air-to-air combat skills by battling unmanned F-16s.Learn More
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.Learn More
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.