QF-16s help F-35 JOTT plan for future testing

0

Three QF-16s landed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, recently to aid the F-35 Joint Operational Test Team (JOTT) with test planning.

The QF-16 is a full-scale aerial target that has been modified to be flown with a pilot in the cockpit for training, and also without a pilot, as a target for live missile testing. The unique jets are from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron from Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The QF-16 is a fourth-generation fighter that maintains all inherent capabilities of the baseline F-16 Fighting Falcon including supersonic flight and 9g maneuverability, according to the 82nd ATRS. The QF-16’s fourth-generation fighter capabilities are designed to help test fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 Lightning II against aerial adversaries and targets.

“We’re preparing for initial operational test and evaluation that starts next year,” said Matt Feringa, F-35 JOTT senior tactical systems analyst. “Part of the QF-16’s mission is to carry airborne radar-jamming pods. We flew F-35s with them as part of our test design development and to preliminarily evaluate the F-35 against those jamming pods.”

The JOTT at Edwards is part of a joint enterprise that conducts operational test and evaluation of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The unit consists of all US services that will operate the different F-35 variants along with coalition partners such as the UK and the Netherlands who will also operate the JSF.

Feringa said the QF-16s were to spend two weeks at Edwards, and the JOTT received good data to move ahead with their test plans. For the JOTT test purposes, the QF-16s were flown by pilots from the 82nd ATRS.

The QF-16 allows customers to test weapons systems in real-world scenarios before reaching the battlefield. Initial operational capability for the QF-16 full-scale aerial target was declared on September 23, 2016. The 82nd ATRS operates the only full-scale aerial target capability in the Defense Department.

The QF-16 replaced the QF-4 Aerial Targets, which were converted F-4 Phantoms. The QF-4 flew its last unmanned mission on August 17, 2016, at Holloman AFB and was officially

May 23, 2017

Share.

About Author

mm

With over 20 years experience in editorial management and content creation for multiple, market-leading titles at UKi Media & Events (publisher of Aerospace Testing International), one of the UK's fastest growing publishing companies, Anthony has written articles and news covering everything from aircraft, airports and cars, to cruise ships, trains, trucks and even tires!

Comments are closed.