BAE Systems has signed a contract to continue supplying QF-4 target drones (pictured) to the US Air Force and Navy but an additional order for Lockheed Martin QF-16s may emerge by the end of the year. The air force is seeking to add a fourth- or fifth-generation fighter to serve as a remotely-piloted aerial target, supplementing the Vietnam-era QF-4. The air force favours the QF-16 over launching a new unmanned aircraft programme to meet the requirement, says Lt Col Jeffrey Robertson, director of the aerial targets programme office. Meanwhile, the new QF-4 contract signed on 19 April is intended to provide up to 20 aerial targets per year to the air force and navy, starting in fiscal 2005.

Source: Flight International