Boeing F-16 Flown Without a Pilot for the First Time

Posted on September 27, 2013

QF-16 Flies without pilot

An F-16 was flown without a pilot for the first time at Tyndall Air Force Base. Boeing retrofitted a Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jet so it could be flown like a drone. The computer controlled plane will be used as a target in combat simulations. The Air Force calls the plane a QF-16 and describes it as a "supersonic reusable full-scale aerial target modified from an F16 Fighting Falcon." The test flight was the first step in a plan to phase out the QF-4 full scale aerial target.

Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, the 82nd ATRS commander, said in a release, "The QF-4 did a good job for many years, but it's time to turn the page in the aerial target program. This program will bring us into the 4th generation aircraft. And will provide us with a mission capable, very sustainable aerial target to take us into the next 10 to 20 years."

Take a look:

Photo: Master Sgt. J. Scott Wilcox

More from Science Space & Robots