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August 17, 2022

Boeing delivers last QF-16 Zombie Viper FSAT to USAF

Delivery of this aircraft is part of the USAF contract awarded to Boeing in 2010.

Boeing has handed over the last QF-16 Zombie Viper full-scale aerial target (FSAT) to the US Air Force’s (USAF) 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron (ATS).

The 82nd ATS is based at Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB) in Panama City, Florida.

The latest announcement was made by the US Defense Contract Management Agency’s (DCMA) Aircraft Integrated Maintenance Operations (AIMO) St. Augustine.

Delivery of this aircraft is part of a USAF contract awarded to Boeing in 2010. It involved conversion of retired F-16 aircraft into QF-16 FSAT.

Under this contract, Boeing regenerated F-16 from the storage at 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Tucson, Arizona and flown to Cecil Airport in Jacksonville for drone equipment installation.

The first aircraft was delivered in 2012, followed by the first uncrewed flight test in 2013.

Boeing has so far delivered more than 75 modified aircraft.

After being modified, the FSAT can now be flown by a pilot, as well as remotely by a group of ground operators and technicians.

DCMA AIMO St Augustine quality assurance specialist Michael Jackson said: “We worked daily, directly on hangar floor, and hand-in-hand with the contractor, to resolve a variety of production issues.

“Our DCMA team worked diligently to overcome all obstacles, alleviating production delays, and delivering remaining aircraft on schedule and under budget.”

The QF-16 is a reusable, optionally piloted FSAT system designed to carry out a variety of missions including air-to-air live fire training, evaluation of weapons systems, auto take-off and landing, supersonic flight and ground-to-air live fire missile tests.

Each FSAT offers a lifespan of around 300 flight hours.

The QF-16 Zombie Viper FSAT has replaced the QF-4 Phantom drone fleet that retired in 2016.

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