BAE Systems to convert F-4 Phantom II jets into target drones

Officers at the 691st Armament Systems Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., have awarded BAE Systems in Mojave, Calif., a $26.5 million contract to convert retired F-4 Phantom II jet fighters into aerial targets for U.S. Air Force and Navy combat pilots.

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By Courtney E. Howard

MOJAVE, Calif. - Officers at the 691st Armament Systems Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., have awarded BAE Systems in Mojave, Calif., a $26.5 million contract to convert retired F-4 Phantom II jet fighters into aerial targets for U.S. Air Force and Navy combat pilots.

“This award is the third of five options exercised under an Air Force contract signed in 1992 and in effect until 2013,” Mike Dismukes, acting vice president and general manager of Flight Systems for BAE Systems in Mojave, explains.

BAE Systems engineers are converting 20 F-4 Phantom II jet fighters into full-size drones, designated as QF-4s. The full-size, remotely controlled QF-4 converted aircraft are designed to provide Air Force aircrews the opportunity to train in realistic air-combat maneuvering, including live weapons launch. Moreover, the drones will aid in the development of new weapons systems capable of neutralizing enemy aircraft.

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BAE Systems’ engineers are converting 20 retired F-4 Phantom II jet fighters into full-size aerial targets for the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
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BAE Systems personnel are modifying 16 aircraft for the Air Force and four aircraft for the Navy at the company’s Mojave facility. BAE Systems engineers anticipate delivering the aircraft to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., by July 2009.

To date, BAE Systems’ engineers have converted 217 F-4s to the QF-4 configuration.

More information about BAE Systems and the QF-4 is available online at www.baesystems.com.

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