The QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target program hosted a ceremony August 31 at Boeing's Cecil Airport facility in Jacksonville, Fla., to celebrate program accomplishments before the next contract phase, which is planned to begin in 2013.
The program is developing a higher performing target jet that can be flown manned or unmanned to help evaluate how U.S. fighters and weapons operate against potential adversaries.
Participants acknowledged employees' efforts in the program's success. After installing over 3,000 new wires for the first QF-16 conversion, the program turned power on in late 2011 and had a successful first manned flight in May.
"The important work you're doing on the QF-16 program is one example of innovation that is important not only to the U.S. Air Force but also to the state of Florida," said U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla.
"Today's celebration signals a continued commitment between The Boeing Company, our customer and our supplier partners," Torbjorn Sjogren, Global Maintenance & Upgrades vice president, said.
U.S. Air Force customer Randy Brown, director, Armament Directorate, joined employees for the event along with a number of Florida state and local officials including Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, representatives from the Jacksonville Aviation Authority and community leaders.
Boeing won the $72 million contract in March 2010. In this initial phase of the contract, Boeing is performing pre-engineering, manufacturing and development to convert six F-16s into QF-16 aerial targets for the Air Force.
The Air Force will begin the next level of testing in Phase II of the contract at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., in 2013. Boeing will support the initial flight testing at Tyndall then later at Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
By Wendy Parker, Boeing PR