November 24, 2012
Ashley M. Wright of U.S. Air Force Public Affairs has written this:
The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group marked an important milestone in continuing to prepare the warfighter for tomorrow’s threats as the first QF-16 drone arrived for developmental testing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 19.
“The work done prior to today and the test work that is forthcoming will enable the Air Force to transition from a 3rd generation, Vietnam-era aerial target performance to 4th generation threat replication and beyond,” said Lt. Col. Lance Wilkins, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron commander.
The QF-16 is a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target drone modified from an F-16 Fighting Falcon. At this time, the 53rd WEG uses QF-4s, made from 1960s F-4 Phantoms, to conduct their full-scale aerial target missions. The targets allow the Air Force and allied nations to have a realistic understanding of what they could face on the battlefield.