Historical drone missile launched

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rachel Kocin
  • 49th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
The first-ever launch of an air to ground missile from a full scale aerial target drone was completed Jan. 9 by Detachment 1, 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron located at Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.

The FSAT is an unmanned QF-4 Phantom Drone that was operated by remote control from a ground station, said Maj. John Markle, Det. 1, 82 ATRS operations officer.

"This is the first air to ground missile fired off an unmanned full scale aerial target," said Major Markle. "This test is an important part of the Det. 1 mission because it increases survivability of our Airmen going against SAM (surface-to-air-missile) threats. Furthermore, it's the first time the drone has been able to shoot back."

"It makes airpower more lethal," said Major Markle. "This is a new high-speed, anti-radiation missile the Navy designed to defeat SAM threats; overall this mission is going to benefit the Department of Defense."

"With this successful test, we have pioneered a new venue to test forward firing ordnance without risk to valuable air assets or crew members," said Lt. Col. Joel Rush, Det. 1, 82 ATRS commander.

The detachment is currently testing F-35 components, and has conducted tests for the F-22A Raptor, PATRIOT and HAWK SAM systems.