Defense

December 2, 2013

Last ‘new’ Phantom returns to service

Tags:
Ashley M. Wright
Tyndall AFB, Fla.

The final, of 314 QF-4s produced since 1998, landed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Nov. 19. It will be used as an unmanned-full-scale-aerial target during training exercises.

The 82nd Aerial Target Squadron received the last of the “new” QF-4 aerial targets†as the Vietnam-era aircraft landed at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., Nov. 19.

The QF-4, Aircraft 68-0599, spent more than 20 years in the Air Force “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., before being brought back to life for one last mission.

“It is bittersweet to receive the last QF-4,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, 82nd ATRS commander. “This aircraft has served the Air Force and the nation so well for so long. It is truly the end of an era.”

The supersonic, reusable QF-4 provides a realistic full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing. The 82nd ATRS will eventually launch the QF-4 on an unmanned flight where it will act as a target for a modern piloted jet. That last mission will provide vital data to American and allied forces.

Since the QF-4 replaced the QF-106 in 1998, more than 300 of the idle planes found a new purpose to continue to serve the Defense Department.

The Phantoms began returning to work after the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group reinstalled the parts to the aircrafts making them serviceable again, according to an April article from the Davis Monthan AFB website.

The next step involved contractors BAE Systems converting the F-4 to the QF-4, which would be flown remotely by highly trained civil service pilots with an average of 4,000 flight hours.

Jeff Percy, BAE Systems director of flight operations, has delivered close to 50 QF-4s in the last four years.

“It is a great flying airplane,” Percy said after flying the aircraft into to base. “It was a team effort, and I was happy to deliver the last Phantom to Tyndall.”

The teamwork of contractors, civilian and military members contributed to more than 16,000 manned and 600 unmanned QF-4 missions. Ultimately, 250 of the Phantoms succeeded in their missions and been successively destroyed over the Gulf of Mexico and the ranges near Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., with the information gathered going to help warfighters globally.

There are only about 60 QF-4s remaining in the program both at Tyndall and Holloman.

The limited availability of F-4s and the continuing advancement of fighter aircraft such as the F-22 Raptors are forcing a shift to the fourth generation QF-16, a converted F-16 Fighting Falcon that should be ready for use in 2014.

“It is a more fitting end for the F-4 to go out in service instead of rusting in a field,” said Vincent Farrell, 82nd ATRS instructor pilot and controller who flew the F-4 during his active duty career.
The U.S. Air Force first flew the F-4 in 1963 with the aircraft seeing first combat in 1965 against North Vietnamese fighters, according to the National Museum of the Air Force Factsheet.

The 82nd ATRS is part of the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group, which falls under the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. The group provides the personnel and infrastructure to test and evaluate weapons utilized by the combat air forces of the United States and its allies. It operates the only full-scale aerial targets in the DOD.




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


 
 

 

Headlines November 21, 2014

News: Dempsey lays groundwork for larger 2016 defense budget - The top U.S. military official on Wednesday made the case for growing the base defense budget significantly over the $535 billion spending cap imposed by Congress for fiscal 2015.   Business: Boeing can bill $61 million that Pentagon withheld for months - The Pentagon withheld $60.5 million...
 
 

News Briefs November 21, 2014

Obama aide: U.S. should look at Ukraine military aid A senior aide of President Barack Obama says he believes the U.S. should consider giving Ukraine lethal, defensive military assistance to get Russia to think twice about its destabilizing behavior. Tony Blinken, the deputy national security adviser, cites serious violations by Russia of agreements not to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 

 
LM-facility

Lockheed Martin opens Surface Navy Innovation Center

Lockheed Martin has opened the Surface Navy Innovation Center in Moorestown, N.J., to support the development of new technologies for the U.S. Navy. The SNIC is a research, development and demonstration facility that brings tog...
 
 
raytheon-test

Raytheon successfully demonstrates integrated electronic warfare capabilities

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Raytheon, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, successfully demonstrated an end to end, first of its kind, integrated electronic attack system during flight tests at the Naval Air Weapons Station Chi...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 




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>