TYNDALL AFB, Fla., 17 July 2013. BAE Systems, in Nov. 2012, delivered the 300th unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the U.S. Air Force under the 16-year-long QF-4 program, which provides full-scale, remotely controlled aerial targets that Air Force personnel use for weapons testing and aircraft training. Fourteen more QF-4s were scheduled for delivery by the middle of 2013.
The QF-4 work is conducted at BAE Systems’ 123,000-square-foot hangar in Mojave, Calif. Approximately 100 employees provide a range of services to transform decommissioned F-4s into QF-4s, a complex process that typically takes roughly 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.
“Our proven performance on this program exemplifies our global capabilities to upgrade and modify aircraft,” says Gordon Eldridge, vice president and general manager of Aerospace Solutions at BAE Systems. “We have been the sole provider of QF-4s for the Air Force since 1996.”
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.