12:57 25 September 2013
History was made on September 19 as the first unmanned F-16 took flight over the Gulf of Mexico, it has now been revealed.
The flight was arranged to test its ability to fly under the control of a pilot on the ground at supersonic speeds. It will be used by fighter pilots during their full-scale targeting practice. There are six Vipers for testing that are to be sent to Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico for live-fire testing.
Lt. Col. Ryan Inman, commander of the 82nd ATRS, said in a release: “The QF-4 did a good job for many years, but it’s time to turn the page in the aerial target program.”
“This program will bring us into the 4th generation aircraft. And will provide us with a mission capable, very sustainable aerial target to take us into the next 10 to 20 years.”
An 82nd ATRS pilot controller, Thomas Mudge, who flew the plane from a control room on base, said: “The flight itself went very well. Its performance and abilities are great and we’re looking forward to this airplane.”
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