Tag Archives: Tyndall Air Force Base

[Photo] First pilotless F-16 flies first remotely controlled mission at Tyndall Air Force Base

The first unmanned QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target flew on Sept. 19 at Tyndall Air Force base in Florida, demonstrating the next generation of combat training and testing.

The aircraft has joined the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron to serve as an aerial target for testing against potential adversaries, radars, surface and air-to-air missiles.

Image credit: Boeing

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This is one of the coolest images I’ve seen in years: cockpit view as Marines F-18 fires live missile

The following image is going viral on social networks.

The reason is obvious: is an absolutely stunning photograph, just released by the U.S. Marine Corps, showing Capt. Christopher Prout with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 232, Marine Aircraft Group 11, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing as he shoots an AIM-7 Sparrow missile from an F/A-18C Hornet near Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, on May 16, 2013.

VMFA-232 moved to Tyndall for a deployment for training (DFT) used to prepare the squadron for future combat and contingency operations.

F-18 shooting

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

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Last of the legendary U.S. Air Force F-4 Phantom jets to become yet another missile victim

The last of the produced F-4 Phantom jets has been converted into a flying dummy target-drone for missile training.

The plane was a part of 309th AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group) based in Tuscon, Arizona and went through tests on Apr. 17.

The RF-4C, production no. 68-0599 is not a machine that is young or freshly retired, as it has been a part of the AMARG inventory since Jan. 18, 1989.

Just after being prepared for flying in a form of a target drone it was given a name Last One.

Last Phantom

Image Credit: AMARG

It is 316th QRF-4C (target drone designation for F-4) that was created. The conversion of the former MiG-21 adversary is conducted with the help of BAe Systems.

The aerial target drone will be managed by 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron based in Tyndall AFB.  The conversion itself is not a quick process, as it takes about 160 days which is almost half a year!

The QF-4 is created using the planes that sit on the USAF’s desert boneyard in Tuscon, Arizona.

As no Phantoms are left to be converted, the oldest F-16s are next in the queue  to be converted into dummy targets for training or new missile research. The first F-16 made its first flight in May 2012.

This is as far as the Air Force goes.

The US Navy is not using Phantoms anymore, as the last ones were also QF-4 target drones in service with Naval Air Warfare Center in Point Magu, California. The Phantom drones are expected to be a part of USAF target dummy inventory until 2013-2014 (later they will be replaced by the abovementioned F-16).

The QF-4 has replaced QF-106 target drone.

The QF-4’s not only serve a drone role, as several of  them are still painted in historical camo and take part in the USAF Heritage Flights at the airshows when not being used as targets.

When being a target, the QF-4 provides quite realistic training platform, as it can imitate all kinds of evasive maneuvers.

Image Credit: air-and-space.com

The following video shows practical application of QF-4 in training of the Air National Guard:

In the video we can see two F-15 jets shooting at the targets – the QF-4 Phantoms. To simulate the aerial combat with the highest possible fidelity the targets are equipped with the whole array of countermeasures (chaffs and flares) and may be flown remotely (when serving as a target) or with a pilot in cockpit (Heritage flights, maintenance). When unmanned, the QF-4 also carries an explosive device for self-destruct purpose in case it becomes uncontrollable.

Even if most modern air forces are equipped with more advanced fighter planes, the F-4 is still comparable if not superior to many enemy aircraft U.S. fighter could face in case of war….

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

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Photo: This is what remains of a 150 million USD stealth fighter plane crashed in Florida

On Nov. 15, an F-22 with 43th Fighter Squadron crashed near Tyndall Air Forcer Base, Florida. Here below you can find the first images of the crash site released by 325th Fighter Wing officials who are continuing to investigate the crash.

Fortunately, the pilot ejected safely from the plane and was rescued by the first responders in less than two minutes.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

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New details emerge about Air Force’s second F-22 Raptor crash of 2012

The U.S. Air Force has suffered its second F-22 Raptor crash of 2012 on Nov. 15, when a pilot had to eject from his jet near Tyndall Air Forcer Base Florida.

According to an unnamed Air Force official who talked with ABC News “The pilot is in good shape and has been speaking with investigators about the crash.”

The source went on to add “Initial indications are, from talking to the pilot and from analyzing initial evidence..[that] it doesn’t look like it was related to any physiological problems.”

So it would seem that the Air Force, that announce the crash on its website, was quick to distance the event from the ongoing oxygen supply problems that has dogged the jet in recent times. A full investigation will now take place to see what happened to the $150 million jet.

What is known at the time of writing is that the stealthy fighter jet, flying with the 43rd Fighter Squadron, experienced an unknown failure as the aircraft was returning to its homebase at the end of a routine training flight.

After making sure the plane would not hit any populated area the pilot ejected from the doomed Raptor, and was rescued a couple of minutes later, as the first firefighters arrived on scene.

EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) team were detached to the take care of any explosive material and to look for composite fiber part which can create health concerns when burnt. For this reason, people in the surroundings were warned to stay inside while responders had to wear protective gear.

Image credit: U.S. Air Force

Incidentally, the report was issued on the same day the Air Force released an accident report about another mishap involving a Raptor at Tyndall AFB. On May 31, a pilot in training (also belonging to the 43rd FS), performing a touch-and-go did not advance the throttle to “military power” (full dry thrust) and prematurely retracted the landing gear causing the radar-evading plane to skid along the ground for a total damage worth 35 million USD.

Hence a pilot error, caused by the lack of experience with the troubled fighter jet.

Restrictions were imposed to the F-22 following the concern of two pilots who talked on the CBS program “60 minutes” as they were uncomfortable flying the stealthy plane (but later ready to return to fly). Although the aircraft was deployed to Japan and the Persian Gulf, flight restriction on the Raptor (grounded for several months last year) still remain in place.

Written with David Cenciotti


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