Has the age of terminators arrived? It really depends on whose perspective you are looking from, as the folks over at Boeing have revealed that they successfully retrofitted one of their retired fighter jets – an F-16 in particular, transforming it into a drone. Now that is certainly a fearsome thought for the enemies, don’t you think so? One of the Lockheed Martin F-16 that is no longer in active service actually performed its maiden flight with an empty cockpit sometime last week.
Needless to say, a couple of US Air Force pilots controlled the F-16 from the ground as it managed to make a trip from a Florida base all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Boeing hopes that this particular innovation could eventually be fine tuned so that it can be used to train pilots in the making, while offering a worthy adversary in the hands of a practice dogfight. This creaking fighter jet took to the skies at an altitude of 40,000ft (12.2km) and a speed of Mach 1.47 (1,119mph/1,800km/h), where it managed to perform a bunch of manoeuvres, among them including a barrel roll and a “split S”. This unmanned F-16 was followed by a couple of chase planes so that folks on the ground will always have an eye’s view on it, while it had a self-destruct mechanism just in case things go awry. Pretty neat, don’t you think so?