The first production drone version of the F-16 has touched down at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and will get ready for its demise.
On March 11, the first production version of the QF-16 aerial targeting drone landed at the base. The aircraft has been in testing to eventually replace the legacy QF-4 Phantom aerial target.
“Today culminates five years of hard work and dedication beginning with a development program, completing a rigorous test and evaluation phase that has ultimately led to the first operational delivery of the QF-16,” said Michele Hafers, director, test and training division at Eglin Air Force Base, in a news release. “We take great pride in this significant team achievement and are honored to provide the warfighter with this enhanced capability.”
The jet is the first of 13 deliveries to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, according to the Air Force. The squadron is in charge of operating the aerial targets, which are used as live targets for pilot training and weapons testing.
The unmanned jet took its first flight in September at the Florida base. The Air Force will eventually fly 210 of the unmanned jets, which are the block 15, 25 and 30 variants of the Fighting Falcon.