AQM-34K TV-16

Craig Kaston photographed an AQM-34 with a special paint job at the Edwards Open House on 2 November 1979. The paint scheme strongly resembles the red-white-blue/black YF-16 scheme from 1974. It also has miniature Sidewinders fitted to the wing tips!

TV-16 was initially identified as an AQM-34L, but the camera window location and the two small air intakes on the rear right fuselage show that is a night infra-red recce AQM-34K. The original configuration is shown by the Western Museum of Flight example. This particular K had its flasher units covered with sheet metal, just like Pima AQM-34 and SAC museum AQM-34.

The 'TV-16' designation on the tail was puzzling, but Dave Matthews (formerly with 100th AMMS/100th SRW and 512th FTD, see USAF bio) suggested 'TV' means 'Test Vehicle'. This still leaves the exact identity open: it could be the sixteenth vehicle converted to TV status within the whole AQM-34 series, or perhaps within the Model 147 S-series? The similarity between the designations 'TV-16' and 'YF-16' is probably just a coincidence, but the TV-16 identity could also have been the inspiration for the special paint job.

Craig Kaston also provided a color photo made by Paul Minert one year later, on 5 October 1980. The text stencilled on the nose reads: 'LAUNCH WT. 2187 / RECOVERY WT. 1982'.

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