Air Force employing old F-16 “Viper” aircraft as remote-operated drones
Older legacy variants of the F-16 “Viper” are getting a grand send-off without an end to their service- by being converted into high-end target drones that can attempt to outfly the human pilots whose skills they are designed to hone.
Known as the QF-16 (“Q” being the designation for target drones), the robo-vipers will provide Air Force pilots with a modern aircraft to tangle with over the Gulf of Mexico, providing a much more realistic challenge than the existing QF-4 fleet.
The QF-16s -many being veterans of conflicts dating back to the 1990s- have been gutted in the cockpit area and re-tooled to accept telemetry and control modules that allow pilots to fly the QF-16s from afar.
According to Wired.com, the F-16 is a perfect platform, as the computer systems are very easy to modify for drone use, and are modern enough to present a “threat” to friendly aircraft in need of live-fire training.
Around 32 of the QF-16s are expected to fly over the Gulf of Mexico, in hopes that Air Force pilots testing new missiles systems will make their mark.
The Air Force hopes to use technologies developed for the program to help create drone wingman for human pilots in future conflicts.
© 2019 Bright Mountain Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
The content of this webpage may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written consent of Bright Mountain Media, Inc. which may be contacted at [email protected], ticker BMTM.