Boeing and US Air Force make drones out of unmanned jets

We should have seen this coming: Boeing recently revealed that one of its retired fighter jets, the Lockheed Martin F-16, was turned into a drone and made its first unmanned flight at an altitude of 40,000ft (12.2km) and a speed of Mach 1.47 (1,119mph/1,800km/h) from a Florida base to the Gulf of Mexico last week.

Controlled from from the ground by two US Air Force pilots, the jet carried out some fancy mid-air stunts that might make an actual pilot sitting in the cockpit throw up, basically: a barrel roll and a ‘split S’, which involves the aircraft turning upside down and making a half loop to fly the right way up in the opposite direction. Boeing said that it had six of these modified F-16s — renamed as QF-16s — and that the US military planned to use these in live fire tests.


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Low Lai Chow travels light and is working on exercising demons from her past. Find out more about her at