F-16 Drones To Train Fighter Pilots

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The US Airforce (USAF), like air forces across the globe, spends a tremendous amount of time and capital to train their fighter pilots. Given that fighter pilots are controlling mutli-million dollar, highly weaponized systems that makes sense.

While USAF’s past instruction schemes have relied heavily on training simulations a new more realistic approach to fighter combat training is taking to the sky.

Named the QF-16, the USAF’s new training module is drone F-16 fighter. Developed by Boeing to give pilots a more real dogfighting experience (including live fire exercises), the QF-16 can pull up to 8G while flying at mach 1.47.

Although the QF-16 is a drone it isn’t autonomous. Two ground based pilots fly remotely fly the craft and are encouraged to truly push the limits of the plane’s performance.

Currently, Boeing has built six QF-16 drones. With up and coming pilots taking aim at them soon I imagine the USAF will be ordering more of its decommissioned fight jet fleet to be retrofit as drones in the very near future.

Image and Video Courtesy of Boeing