QF-16 Reaches IOC

Air Combat Command boss Gen. Hawk Carlisle approved the QF-16 Full-Scale Aerial Target for initial operational capability on Sept. 23, according to a release. The QF-16, which replaces the QF-4, is the first fourth generation unmanned target aircraft. The last QF-4 was shot down in August at Holloman AFB, N.M., and the fleet will officially retire in December. The Air Force currently has 15 operational QF-16s, all of which are assigned to the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron at Tyndall AFB, Fla. “This leap forward in airframe capabilities, combined with advanced electronic pods, will allow us to properly test and evaluate our fifth generation aircraft and weapons,” said Lt. Col. Matthew Garrison, 82nd ATRS commander.