The Air Force Times reports
By Jill Laster – Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jan 2, 2012 9:08:59 EST
A small drone designed by a group of Air Force Academy cadets could become the Air Force’s newest unmanned aerial vehicle.
Its mission: become a target for F-22s and F-35s to shoot down during training.
The Air Force is considering the small unmanned aircraft along with another one by a contractor.
More than 50 groups of cadets submitted potential designs for the new drone as part of a “capstone course” in 2008, during their final year at the academy.
The academy — along with partners at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the service’s Aeronautical Systems Center and the contractor Sierra Technical Services — has been researching since 2003 what sort of drone the service could use to practice shootdowns.
The Air Force now uses F-4s that have been modified as drones — QF-4s — for that training. F-16s, modified as drones and renamed QF-16s, are scheduled to replace them soon, but using modified fighters could pose a disadvantage.