Falcon Target Rising

Falcon Target Rising: A manned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flew for the first time on a flight check from Naval Air Station Cecil Field near Jacksonville, Fla., announced contractor Boeing. “With this successful first flight of the QF-16, the Air Force, Boeing, and our supplier partners have laid the groundwork for the program to enter low-rate production in 2013,” said Torbjorn Sjogren, Boeing’s upgrade and maintenance vice president, in the company’s May 10 release. The flight took place on May 4. The optionally manned QF-16 drones—converted early model F-16s pulled from retirement—will eventually supplant the current generation of QF-4 Phantoms as aerial practice and test targets. Boeing plans to deliver the first six QF-16s to Tyndall AFB, Fla., for testing over the Gulf Coast target range in October. The Air Force awarded Boeing the phase-one QF-16 modification contract in 2010, with the intention of procuring upwards of 126 FSATs. The first remanufactured QF-16 production airframe is slated for delivery in 2014, according to Boeing.