An F-16 flying out of Tyndall AFB went missing this morning 60 miles off the coast of Panama City, Florida. A search and rescue operation is ongoing, but the latest reports say there's been no contact with the pilot thus far.
Many outlets say that the aircraft belonged to the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which flies a mix of QF-4 and QF-16 optionally manned full scale target (FSAT) drones. Seeing as the QF-16 just became operational, there may be other non-FSAT modified F-16s assigned to the squadron for pilot proficiency and training.
Additionally, Tyndall AFB is the primary training base for the F-22 Raptor, and F-16s do visit for Dissimilar Air Combat Training (DACT), as well as for weapons testing and live fire drills in the vast warning areas over the Gulf of Mexico.
It has been a rough month for the USAF F-16 community. On October 20th a pair of Oklahoma ANG F-16s collided in midair, with only one aircraft returning to base. Both pilots survived that incident.
We'll be updating this post as more details become available.
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com