The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group is on track to finish the F-4 Phantom phase of Air Combat Command’s full-scale aerial drone program. The regenerated planes will be converted into drones to be used by several bases for target practice.
The regenerated planes will be used at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., for U.S. Army ground-to-air combat practice. While at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., the planes will be used to practice air-to-air combat.
Before the F-4, AMARG worked on the QF-100 Super Sabre and the QF-106 Delta Dart. AMARG started working on the F-4 model in 2001 and have since completed 315 regenerations, while working on six to eight planes at a time.
Each plane takes an average of 9,000 man hours or 277 calendar days to complete, and costs roughly $861,000. With the older planes there are always unexpected issues, such as fuel leaks and cracks from sitting in the desert for years.
The 316th F-4 is should be completed the second week of February. The F-16 Fighting Falcon is the next scheduled model to be regenerated, and modifications are expected to start this June.