by Geoff Ziezulewicz
Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. (UPI) Aug 31, 2016
The QF-4 Phantom flew its final unmanned mission this month while serving as an aerial target during F-35 Lightning II testing, the U.S. Air Force said.
The final flight took place above the White Sands Missile Range on Aug. 17, the service said in a statement.
The QF-4 has served as a target for a variety of next-generation weapons over the past 15 years.
The QF-4 program is slated to end later this year, as such services will be performed by QF-16 aircraft, a modified version of the F-16.
The Phantom will still be used in manned flights through December.
The QF-4 fleet's age and limited capabilities have led to its increased obsolescence, the service said.
The QF-16 begins the next chapter in advanced aerial targets, supporting more technologically superior air-to-air weapons testing and evaluation programs.
The F-4 Phantom served in Vietnam and as recently as the Gulf War.
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