Thursday, January 26, 2023

Boeing to convert F-16 jet fighters into full scale aerial targets

Boeing has won a modification contract from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to manufacture QF-16 full-scale aerial target (“FSAT”) Lot 5A.

The contract is valued at $24.7 million. It was awarded by the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Eglin Air Force Base, FL.

Per the contract, Boeing will provide 18 QF-16 FSATs and 18 related four-year warranties for the QF-16 drone-peculiar equipment program.


Work is scheduled to be completed by Apr 27, 2027 and will be executed in St. Louis, MO. The contract will use fiscal 2017 procurement funds.

The QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target will provide the next generation of combat training and testing for U.S. warfighters. Retired F-16 aircraft are converted into QF-16 aerial targets for the purpose of testing newly developed weapons and tactics. The QF-16 will replace the existing QF-4 fleet, and provide a higher capability, fourth generation aerial target that is more representative of today’s targets and threats.

QF-16 Technical Specifications

Primary FunctionFull-scale aerial target
ContractorThe Boeing Company
Power PlantF-16A/C: one Pratt and Whitney F100-PW-200/220/229 or General Electric F110-GE-100/129
F-16 ManeuverabilityFully maintained, including supersonic speeds and 9g turns
Radar Cross Section4 to 4.5 generation capability
CountermeasuresF-16 chaff & flares; EA pods, ALQ-188 & ALQ-167
120nm GRDCS datalinkImproved TVI clock/position, data latency, and frequency stability
Weapon Accuracy ScoringImproved Doppler system
Range SafetyFlight termination qualified to RCC-319


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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.