Defense

May 19, 2017
 

QF-16s help F-35 JOTT plan for future testing

Tags:
Kenji Thuloweit
Edwards AFB, Calif.

Three QF-16s from Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., sit on the Edwards AFB flightline April 28. The full-scale aerial targets were requested by the Joint Operational Test Team to assist with test design development for upcoming operational testing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Three QF-16s descended on Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., recently to aid the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team with test planning.

The QF-16 is a full-scale aerial target that has been modified to be flown with a pilot in the cockpit for training and also without a pilot as a target for live missile testing. The unique jets are from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

The QF-16 is a fourth-generation fighter that maintains all inherent capabilities of the baseline F-16 Fighting Falcon including supersonic flight and 9-G maneuverability, according to the 82nd ATRS.

The QF-16’s fourth-generation fighter capabilities are designed to help test fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 Lightning II against aerial adversaries and targets.

“We’re preparing for initial operational test and evaluation that starts next year,” said Matt Feringa, F-35 JOTT senior tactical systems analyst. “Part of the QF-16’s mission is to carry airborne radar jamming pods. We flew F-35s with them as part of our test design development and to preliminarily evaluate the F-35 against those jamming pods.”

The JOTT at Edwards is part of a joint enterprise that conducts operational test and evaluation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The unit consists of all U.S. services that will operate the different F-35 variants along with coalition partners such as the United Kingdom and the Netherlands who will also operate the JSF.

Feringa said the QF-16s were here for two weeks and the JOTT received good data to move ahead with their test plans. For the JOTT test purposes, the QF-16s were flown by pilots from the 82nd ATRS.

The QF-16 allows customers to test weapons systems in real-world scenarios before reaching the battlefield. Initial operational capability for the QF-16 full-scale aerial target was declared Sept. 23, 2016. The 82nd ATRS operates the only full-scale aerial target capability in the Defense Department.

The QF-16 replaced the QF-4 Aerial Targets, which were converted F-4 Phantoms. The QF-4 flew its last unmanned mission Aug. 17, 2016 at Holloman AFB and was officially retired in December.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines – January 18, 2019

News Space based interceptors, drones with lasers: the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Review wish-list revealed – The long-delayed Missile Defense Review, which will be formally introduced by President Donald Trump at the Pentagon Jan. 17, will call for research and investments to ensure America’s security for the next several decade: laser technology, the F-35 as an...
 
 

News Briefs – January 18, 2019

Food pantry opens for employees at Coast Guard Academy A coalition of Coast Guard-related nonprofit groups has opened a pop-up food pantry at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy to help Coast Guard and academy workers affected by the partial government shutdown. About 160 of the 260 government-funded nonessential employees at the New London, Conn.,-based academy...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

High Desert Hangar Stories: U-2s, Notre Dame and Rosamond Dry Lake

Courtesy photograph Peter Ustinov, as the king, had a rocket-powered golf cart for transportation. Many movies have been filmed up here in our High Desert home, but one that stands out and really takes the cake is one that only...