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BAE Systems To Convert 20 F-4 Phantoms Into Target Drones

QF-4 Phantoms line up.
by Staff Writers
Mojave CA (SPX) Jun 09, 2006
BAE Systems has received a $25.1 million U.S. Air Force contract to provide 20 QF-4 full-scale aerial targets and associated technical support. The QF-4 is an F-4 Phantom aircraft modified for remote-control operation.

The 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. The production effort will be completed by July 2008.

"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 previously mothballed F-4s, run the aircraft through flight tests, and deliver them to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., 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 aircraft.

The Air Force Headquarters Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting office.

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