BAE Systems QF-4 programme milestone reached
BAE Systems has announced the successful conversion of its 300th F-4 Phantom fighter jet into an unmanned flying drone for the US Air Force (USAF). This is a significant achievement in the 16-year-long QF-4 programme, which provides full-scale, remotely controlled aerial targets that the USAF uses for weapons testing and aircraft training.
The QF-4 work transforms decommissioned F-4s into QF-4s, a complex process that typically takes about six months. Depending on the condition of the F-4s, the services may include systems engineering and integration; electrical, mechanical, and software engineering; and various types of structural alterations. The work is conducted at the BAE Systems facility in Mojave, California.
Gordon Eldridge, vice president and general manager of Aerospace Solutions at BAE Systems, said of the milestone: ‘Our proven performance on this program exemplifies our global capabilities to upgrade and modify aircraft. We have been the sole provider of QF-4s for the Air Force since 1996. Congratulations to the entire Mojave team, which now has more than 35 years of combined experience and a solid track record of success.’
An additional 14 QF-4s are scheduled for delivery by the middle of 2013. After each conversion is complete, the aircraft is flown to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and other training sites, where it is used primarily for target practice.
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