Thu, Jun 08, 2006
The final flights of 20 more once-mothballed F-4 Phantom fighter
aircraft will end in blazes of glory (hopefully, at the end of a
precisely targeted missile, and not a southern NM runway) as BAE
Systems announced this week the company has received a $25.1
million USAF contract to convert the fighters into QF-4 targeting
The remote-controlled targets provide the Air Force with
full-sized aircraft that permit aircrews to train in highly
realistic air combat maneuvering -- including live weapons launch.
The contract is the second of five possible options exercised under
an original agreement in effect until 2013.
BAE Systems will perform the modification work at its facility
in Mojave, CA. The production effort will be completed by July
"Our targets' contribution to weapons development and training
directly affects the ability of our war fighters to prevail, and we
welcome the opportunity to continue providing realistic targets to
our Air Force customer," said Paul Nafziger, vice president and
general manager of Flight Systems for BAE Systems in Mojave.
BAE Systems is the
exclusive provider of QF-4 drones to the Air Force. Employees at
the Mojave facility recondition the grounded F-4s, run the aircraft
through flight tests, and deliver them to Tyndall Air Force Base,
FL where they are further modified into full-scale targets.
The drones are then flown from Defense Department test ranges
for use in development of new weapons systems, and to ensure that
those systems already deployed remain capable of neutralizing enemy
The Air Force Headquarters Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force
Base, FL is the contracting office.
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