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USAF's F-16 to fly pilotless for first time in 2025

14th May 2024 - 13:00 GMT | by Flavia Camargos Pereira in Kansas City


F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 96th Test Wing and 53rd under the VENOM-AFT. (Photo: US Air Force).

F-16 Fighting Falcon is currently passing through the developmental and operational testing phase under the VENOM-AFT programme.

The US Air Force (USAF) plans to conduct the first flight of a pilotless F-16 Fighting Falcon in 2025 as part of its effort to advance the use of autonomous capabilities in its aircraft fleet. The trials will be conducted under the Viper Experimentation and Next-gen Operations Model – Autonomy Flying Testbed programme (VENOM-AFT).

An official spokesperson for the service told Shephard that this effort is currently undergoing developmental and operational testing at the 96th Test Wing, in Eglin Air Force Base (Florida).

“The next step for the VENOM programme is to modify the F-16 aircraft into test platforms to

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Flavia Camargos Pereira


Flavia Camargos Pereira

Flavia Camargos Pereira is a North America editor at Shephard Media. She joined the company …

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