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Aero India 2023

First retired F-16 Falcon arrives at Boeing facility

The F-16 Falcon arrived at the Boeing facility in Jacksonville on April 22. A Boeing photo

JACKSONVILLE (BNS): The US Air Force’s first retired F-16 Falcon fighter aircraft has arrived at the Boeing facility here for conversion into a QF-16 aerial drone.

The aircraft arrived at the Boeing facility on April 22, the company said.

Boeing had received a contract worth around $70 million from the USAF in March this year for the first phase of the QF-16 drone programme.

The Boeing team, which will include the BAE Systems, will be responsible for the initial engineering, manufacturing and development of QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Targets in the first phase.

The team will initially receive six F-16 Falcons from the USAF. After modification to the QF-16 configuration, the fighters will serve as prototypes for engineering tests and evaluation prior to low-rate initial production, Boeing said.

Up to 126 QF-16 drones will be converted beginning in 2014, the company said.

The new drones, which will replace the USAF's QF-4 fleet of drones, will be used as aerial targets for newly developed weapons and tactics. They will be flown either manned or unmanned.

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