Defense

November 26, 2012

QF-16 drone arrives for testing, prepares war fighters for tomorrow’s threats

Tags:
Ashley M. Wright
Tyndall AFB, Fla.


The 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group marked an important milestone in continuing to prepare the war fighter 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.

“In the imminent future, the QF-16 will take air-to-air testing and evaluation to the next level,” Wilkins said. “It will make our American and Allied aircrew, aircraft and weapons more reliable and more lethal. It will serve a new generation of warriors.”

Boeing Global Services and Support will conduct testing on the QF-16, according to a Boeing press release.

The QF-16s will undergo approximately six months of testing to validate their capabilities and ensure compatibility with the Gulf Range Drone Control System, explained group officials.

Next, the aircraft will deploy to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., for approximately four more months of integrated testing. When all test milestones are complete, the aircraft will return permanently to the 53rd WEG to complete a transition period in order to achieve initial operational capability at Tyndall AFB.

The first production QF-16 is scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

As the Air Force prepares 5th generation fighters such as the F-22 Raptor and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter for the next battlespace, the group acts as a safety net to ensure our weapons capability is fully evaluated and understood prior to use in combat, said Col. James Vogel, 53rd WEG commander.

“It is a big day,” Vogel said. “We are 100 percent behind the road to IOC for the QF-16.”

The colonel added that the day was only possible with the work of many organizations, all involved Airmen at Tyndall AFB and all contractors.
The 53rd WEG, which falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin AFB, Fla., provides the personnel and infrastructure to test and evaluate weapons utilized by the combat air forces of the United States and its allies. The group operates the only full-scale aerial drones in the Defense Department.




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


 
 

 
Courtesy photograph

Upgrades ‘new normal’ for armor in uncertain budget environment

Courtesy photograph The current Paladin is severely under-powered and overweight so its speed of cross-country mobility is pretty restricted. The Paladin Integrated Management program is designed to address a number of these we...
 
 

ISR: A critical capability for 21st century warfare

The progressive adaptations and breakthroughs made in the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance arena have changed the way wars are fought, and the way commanders think about the battlespace. “Whether we have airmen exploiting full motion video data or serving downrange in the (Central Command) area of responsibility, these individuals make up an enterprise of 30,000...
 
 

Army Operating Concept expands definition of combined arms

The Army Operating Concept, published Oct. 7, expands the idea of joint combined-arms operations to include intergovernmental and special operations capabilities, said Gen. Herbert R. McMaster Jr. The new concept includes prevention and shaping operations at the strategic level across domains that include maritime, air, space and cyberspace, he said. It’s a “shift in emphasis,”...
 

 

Future of AF helicopter fleets discussed at conference

Air Force Global Strike Command’s Helicopter Operations Division hosted the Worldwide Helicopter Conference at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 7-9, to discuss the current and future state of the Air Force’s helicopter fleets. The conference promoted cross talk among the Air Force’s helicopter forces, which are principally operated by Air Combat Command, Pacific Air...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson

First F-35A operational weapons load crew qualified

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Marleah Robertson Airmen with the 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew one, prepare to load a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition on to an F-35A Lightning II during a qualification load on Eglin Air...
 
 

Dragon ‘fires up’ for flight

The Air Force and NATO are undergoing a cooperative development effort to upgrade the avionics and cockpit displays of AWACS aircraft belonging to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and the NATO E-3 Sentrys from Geilenkirchen, Germany. The Diminishing Manufacturing Sources Replacement of Avionics for Global Operations and Navigation, otherwise...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>