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QF4 Phantom UAVs

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  • QF4 Phantom UAVs

    I wonder whether they will use them for combat purposes as well sometimes? The photo clearly shows a missile and the ohter one shows it firing. R.

    SOURCE: Defense Industry Daily
    DATE: JAN 22, 2008

    More QF-4s - And A New Trick for Old Dogs?

    The F-4 Phantom II fighter still flies with a number of air forces, including Egypt, Germany, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and possibly Iran. These large 2-seat multi-role fighters were a triumph of thrust over aerodynamics, and formed the mainstay of the USAF and US Navy fleets for many years. QF-4s are former F-4s that currently sit in storage at the AMARC "Boneyard" near Tucson, AZ. They are refurbished for flight at AMARC, then flown to BAE in Mojave, CA and fitted with remote-control equipment in a process that takes about 160 days. Once fitted for the UAV role, they are used as aerial targets and decoys for testing against air-air missiles, radars, surface-air missiles, et. al. As of April 2007, BAE Systems has converted 217 F-4s to the QF-4 configuration.

    It's financially prudent, and fitting in a way for an old warrior to go out in a fireball of glory – but sad, too, somehow. Recent announcements may indicate more interesting possibilities ahead, however, even as another QF-4 order comes in….

    DATE: JAN 17, 2008: BAE Systems Integrated Defense Solutions of Austin, TX received a $23.2 million contract option for 17 more QF-4 full-scale aerial targets (FSAT – 12-USAF, 5-USN), under production contract LOT 14. This order exercises the 4th of 5 annual options in the contract, and all funds have been obligated at this time. The 691st Armament Systems Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, TX issued the contract (FA8675-04-C-0214, P00032).

    DATE: JAN 09, 2008
    : For the first time, an air-to-ground missile was launched from a QF-4 by airmen with Detachment 1 of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron at Holloman AFB, NM. The launch was conducted from a ground control station – the plane itself had no pilot. In the USAF release, Maj. John Markle, the detachment's operations officer, said that:

    "This is the first air-to-ground missile fired off an unmanned full-scale aerial target…. This test is an important part of the Det. 1 mission because it increases survivability of our Airmen going against (surface-to-air missile) threats. Furthermore, it's the first time the drone has been able to shoot back." Rings a bell somehow...

  • #2
    About the missile in the first pic

    SOURCE: Defensee Industry Daily
    DATE: JAN 24, 2008

    Which Missile is That?

    Some readers are wondering exactly what kind of missile the QF-4 is carrying in the photo. The short answer is that we don't know. Early releases referred to a modified HARM missile used to attack enemy air defense radars, but that information no longer appears in the USAF article. DID is asking, but unless we get an answer we can't know if the reference was removed due to inaccuracy, or secrecy.

    On Jan 24/08, however, Jane's Defence Weekly mentioned this interesting tidbit – which seems to fit our photo:

    "Airborne live-firing trials have been revealed of a hitherto unseen United States ramjet-powered air-to-surface weapon. Under the Higher-Speed Anti-radiation missile Demonstration (HSAD) programme, ATK and the US Navy (USN) have combined a ramjet motor with the dual-mode seeker developed for the AGM-88E advanced anti-radiation guided missile (AARGM). The HSAD is a parallel effort to the other various SEAD (suppression of enemy air defences) systems evolving in the US today." Rings a bell somehow...


    • #3
      Interesting on the HARM next-gen pickup. Looks like the basic missile warhead, seeker, and avionics are the same, but the airframe is much more compact (lighter?). Internal carriage anyone?
      May a plethora of uncultivated palaeontologists raise the dead in a way that makes your blood boil