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I/ITSEC 2021: Hunters become the hunted for USAF

25th November 2021 - 14:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The QF-16 serves as a full-scale aerial target to test next-generation weapon systems. (Photo: USAF/Senior Airman Emily Kenney)

Boeing is to convert more F-16Cs into supersonic aerial targets.

Boeing has received a $49.68 million sole-source contract from the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center to deliver ‘Unique Material for Drone Peculiar Equipment Package’ so that retired F-16C airframes can be converted into QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Targets (FSATs).

The contract covers FSAT Lot 6 production of converted Block 25 and Block 30 F-16s, the DoD announced on 23 November.

Additional services will include programme integration support, ‘production line support material and warranty for drone peculiar equipment lay-in material’, the DoD added.

Work will be performed in St Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be completed by 30 April 2025.

Shephard Defence Insight notes that the FSAT is an optionally piloted supersonic aerial target based on a modified F-16 airframe. The USAF uses these full-scale aerial targets as platforms for training or to test and validate various air- and ground-based weapon systems.

While the DoD announcement did not specify how many F-16s will be converted in Lot 6, Boeing was expecting to receive a contract for 13 airframes in FY2021.

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