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Science & Technology

Boeing flies remote controlled F-16 jet

By T.K. Randall
September 26, 2013 · Comment icon 22 comments



The aircraft was operated by pilots on the ground. Image Credit: US Air Force
The fighter aircraft was observed flying through the sky last week with a completely empty cockpit.
Flying at a height of 40,000ft and at a speed of 1,119mph, the F-16 managed to cover an impressive distance despite there being no-one on board. The stunt was part of a new initiative by Boeing to breath new life in to retired fighter jets by retrofitting them with the mechanisms needed to fly them by remote control.

The test flight saw two pilots operate the jet from the ground as it flew from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico. During the run it performed a number of maneuvers including a barrel roll and a complex combat evasion move.
"It flew great, everything worked great, [it] made a beautiful landing - probably one of the best landings I've ever seen," said chief engineer Paul Cejas.

Boeing are hoping that remote control jets could eventually be used to train pilots by providing them with a live target to shoot at, however the move has also been criticized by some who see the technology as one more step towards a future dominated by automated robotic systems capable of selecting and opening fire on targets without human intervention.

Source: BBC News | Comments (22)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #13 Posted by DecoNoir 9 years ago
I did read that during the "No Fly Zone" over Iraq, a Predator or something similar did have a go at an Iraq MiG-29. It lost, but I suppose the pilot decided there was nothing to lose having a go. 999,9999 times out of a million a MiG will win. In a piloted drone you can only see what the cameras let you. Not to mention a Predator has the maneuverability of a cardboard box.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Chooky88 9 years ago
What? They are worried an RC F16 could be used for warfare? Sounds more plausible than target practice. That's one hell of an expensive clay pigeon.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Babe Ruth 9 years ago
What? They are worried an RC F16 could be used for warfare? Sounds more plausible than target practice. That's one hell of an expensive clay pigeon. QF-16 is the proper designation. Old airplanes must eventually be destroyed. Why not get the most bang for the buck in the process? Radar injects can only do so much in the training scenario. Air combat maneuvering against a real airplane is far better for training than just a video game.
Comment icon #16 Posted by Colonel Rhuairidh 9 years ago
This was done with F-4s previously... http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:AIM-54_Phoenix_destroys_QF-4_drone_1983.jpeg
Comment icon #17 Posted by Babe Ruth 9 years ago
It's been done with many different types there at Tyndall, including the old Delta wing General Dynamics QF-102 and QF-106
Comment icon #18 Posted by Chooky88 9 years ago
Seems a waste. Couldn't they sell them to rich rappers and Arabs, De armed and ready to be an uber toy? Yes I'm being g flippant, but still seems a waste. Then again if it saves the lives of good guys then it's worth it.
Comment icon #19 Posted by Chooky88 9 years ago
Ps. Just jealous as I drive a 12 year old POS that definitely does not fly :-(
Comment icon #20 Posted by ealdwita 9 years ago
I find this whole story terrifying. What kind of future are we headed towards here?? "Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. This is your pilot speaking. You are now crossing the coast at a flight level of thirty thousand feet in good visibility. You may be surprised to learn that I am at the Ryanair drone control center in Islamabad and controlling the aircraft remotely. There is no need for apprehension as this system has been tested thoroughly and at great length. I can therefore, assure you that nothing can possibly go wrong (click) go wrong (click) go wrong (click) go wrong (click) go wron... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by coolguy 9 years ago
Yup it's not new they where doing this with big planes after the war B-17s.they even flew jet liners remote controlled
Comment icon #22 Posted by slaughtr 9 years ago
This is old news the government been flying unmaned craft.What is the government doing we know there doing.


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