Video saying good bye to the QF-4

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Unread post09 Jul 2015, 21:40 ... 1716458117

Here is a video saying good bye to the QF-4 and hello to the QF-16...

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Unread post28 Jan 2021, 08:20

PHANTOM’S LAST STAND [8 page PDF of article attached]
2017 Jamie Hunter

"The last remaining US Air Force Phantom II operator is Detachment 1 of the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. The unit marked the end of an era in 2016 as it made the final USAF F-4 farewell....

...It [QF-4 drone] had some electronic equipment on board that we wanted to keep, so we recovered the jet back here.’ This particular QF-4E, serial 72-0166/AF-329, seems to have enjoyed a charmed life. ‘We flew that same jet a couple of weeks later for an F-35 test out of Edwards [AFB] and they fired two AMRAAMs at it.’ With the electronic equipment still loaded it was decided again to destroy both missiles just prior to impact, for the [QF-4 drone] jet to live another day....

...If the jet is undamaged we can decide to bring it back. In that case we fly it manually back to a point about 18 miles away from the base and then put it on a programmed track, then hit a button again and computer takes over. It does everything aside from controlling the airspeed, so the controller handles that based on fuel, weight and final approach speed. The chase follows it all the way in and as we make the final approach we lower the gear, flaps, and the arrestor hook as well. The technology is such that the brakes are either on or off. So, unmanned, we don’t use the brakes at all on landing. We push a button to deploy the drag ’chute, and then you have to manually steer the drone with the joystick to keep it on the runway. The controller takes verbal corrections from the chase pilot.’

QF-4s and their predecessors used to be controlled in the pattern by line of sight from a control van out by the ‘droneway’. King says: ‘It was scary and served no useful purpose, so they stopped doing that.’ The risks associated with the unmanned FSAT role are mitigated as much as possible. The aircraft flies unmanned with an AIM-9 Sidewinder warhead in place of the back seat in case something goes wrong, and the aircraft can be ‘terminated’. King remarks: ‘As you can imagine, there’s a lot of safety concerns for what is essentially a live bomb flying around without anyone in it!’"..."

BTM Photo: "The one that got away — QF-4E 72-0166 recovers to Holloman after surviving the F-35 AMRAAM test. USAF"

Source: United States Air Force Air Power Year Book 2017
QF-4 Last Stand USAF Air Power Year Book 2017 pp8.pdf
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QF-4 ARREST Chute Last Stand USAF Air Power Year Book 2017 TIF.jpg
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