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 July 23, 2014

News: Israel’s Iron Dome defense in line for tripled U.S. spending - Israel’s iron Dome missile defense system may end up getting triple the U.S. funding that the Defense Department sought for it in March. Ukraine asked U.S. for systems to counter Russian missiles - A month before the United States says a Russian missile likely brought...
 
 

News Briefs July 23, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,194 As of July 22, 2014, at least 2,194 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is three less than the Defense Department’s tally. At least...
 
 
Raytheon photograph

Raytheon completes key Air, Missile Defense Radar reviews

Raytheon photograph Partially-populated, full-sized Air and Missile Defense Radar array. Raytheon has completed two critical program reviews for the new Air and Missile Defense Radar, the U.S. Navy’s next generation integ...
 

 
Insitu photograph

Insitu demonstrates long endurance capabilities of Integrator unmanned aircraft

Insitu photograph Insitu’s Integrator unmanned aircraft recovers via SkyHook; the aircraft recently completed a 24-hour endurance flight. Insitu announced July 22 the successful 24-hour flight of its Integrator unmanned a...
 
 

NASA partners punctuate summer with spacecraft development advances

Spacecraft and rocket development is on pace this summer for NASA’s aerospace industry partners for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program as they progress through systems testing, review boards and quarterly sessions under their† Space Act Agreements with the agency. NASA engineers and specialists continue their review of the progress as the agency and partners move...
 
 

U.S. Navy selects Northrop Grumman for ship self-defense system

The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman a $12 million task order for a full range of engineering services to continue modernizing the Ship Self-Defense System Mark 2. The contract has a potential value of $61 million over five years, if all options are exercised. SSDS MK2 is a combat system designed for anti-air defense...
 




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>