By lex, on July 17th, 2010
When I was a lieutenant, I happily joined in the hunt for a QF-86 target drone, and thought nothing about it. QF-4s came ** and went, and it seemed to make perfect sense. They was old and tired. Might as well shoot them down.
Come to learn that the USAF is set to convert up to 126 F-16s to target status:
The Lockheed-Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon is the flagship jet of the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force’s precision flying team, and is flown by the Air Force, Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard. But the fighter has been in service since 1979 and early models that are getting long in the tooth are now marching into retirement. They won’t go quietly, though. The Air Force has launched a program to convert many of these F-16s into QF-16 drones that will intentionally be shot down.
The Fighting Falcon is being turned into a clay pigeon that can streak through the sky at a speed in excess of Mach 2, or twice the speed of sound.
This is a dern shame, all the way around.
** 10-07-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.