[Video] Test missile fired at F-16 used as a target drone for the first time

QF-16 performs for the first time as an aerial target

A remotely controlled QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target was launched for the first time as an aerial target at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.

The missile used in the test was modified so it could not hit its target; however, the QF-16 has a scoring system which tells the ground station how close the missile came and its trajectory.

According to Boeing, “The ground control station sets the coordinates for the missile. Then, using its on board system, the QF-16 validates that the missile hit those coordinates, and detects the distance and speed of the missile. If all the data matches up, the mission is considered a kill.”


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I worked at Eglin AFB in the late 1960s when the last of the B-47s were being used as drones for similar tests. Some controlled misses passed so close, the big bomber would rock as the missile passed. It’s always sad to see a great plane used in this way, particularly one as marvelous as the F-16. Hopefully, some will be preserved for museums and even to fly in air shows.

  2. “Boeing” F-16? Let me laugh. This plane was designed by General Dynamics and Boeing had nothing to do with it at the time. It’s only through corporate consolidation that Boeing can put its name on the plane. Same goes for the “Boeing” F-15 and F-18.

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