Boeing Developing AF F-16 Variant Drone; Torbjorn Sjogren Comments

Boeing is developing a new plane for the Air Force that operates in manned and unmanned missions and is based off the F-16 fighter jet, the company announced Thursday.

The company received a multi-year contract in March 2010 for initial engineering, manufacturing and development of the QF-16, with options to buy up to 126 jets.

Earlier this week, the company completed the first manned test flight of the QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Target in Jacksonville, Fla.

The company and its supplier-partners will enter low-rate production in 2013 and make the first production delivery in 2014, said Torbjorn Sjogren, vice president for global maintenance and upgrades.

Testers installed a drone modification package on the plane for flying unmanned missions, while under the control of a ground-based system.

Recently, the Air Force awarded Boeing $21 million to provide spare parts for communications satellites.

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