An unmanned QF-4 Aerial Target assigned to the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron, Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., crashed Feb. 7. The crash site is located inside the White Sands National Monument, which was closed in advance of the test mission.
The cause of the crash is unknown at this time, and the incident is under investigation.
“We are working closely with the National Park Service to minimize the amount of time the monument will be closed, and we apologize for any inconvenience this might cause.”
This crash follows a QF-4 crash in July 2011 where a manned version of the aircraft crashed near Hope, N.M. In that incident, the pilot safely ejected and was unharmed. The last two unmanned crashes occurred at Holloman AFB in August 2006 and September 2004.
The aircraft was assigned to Det. 1, 82nd ATS, which is a tenant unit at Holloman assigned to the 53rd Weapons Evaluation Group.
The QF-4 is a remotely controlled target drone, which realistically simulates enemy aircraft maneuvers and can be flown by remote control or with a safety pilot in the cockpit. As a safety precaution, a chase plane trails the drone during critical periods of flight.
The supersonic QF-4 is a reusable full-scale, remotely piloted aerial target modified from the F-4 Phantom. The QF-4 provides a realistic full-scale target for air-to-air weapons system evaluation, development and testing. Holloman AFB is one of two bases to operate the QF-4, with the other being Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. The QF-4 is being replaced by the QF-16, a supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target modified from an F-16 Fighting Falcon.