Lockheed QF-80

Last revised July 16, 1999

The QF-80 was a drone version of the F-80 for use as a gunnery target.

Sperry Gyroscope began converting eight F-80s to QF-80 drone configuration in 1951 under a project known as Bad Boy. The armament was all removed, and radio control equipment was installed. The pilot's controls were retained, which made it possible for the drone to be operated either manned or unmanned. A second batch of 14 drones featured larger center-mounted Fletcher wingtip tanks equipped with cameras rather than fuel so that attacking aircraft could be photographed. These cameras could be jettisoned by remote control and lowered by parachute.

Sperry received contracts for 55 more QF-80 drones (plus 10 DT-33 drone directors) in November of 1954. Most were converted F-80Cs. Several of these were completed as QF-80F, which was a modernized QF-80A/QF-80C target drone with improved radio control equipment and provision for runway arrester hooks.

The drones were usually painted all red, but with natural metal finish on the top surfaces of both wings. Some QF-80 drones were still operating as aerial targets as late as 1962. Many QF-80s were operated as pilotless drones to collect radioactive samples from mushroom clouds during nuclear tests.


  1. Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star Variant Briefing, Robert F. Dorr, Wings of Fame, Volume 11, 1998.