They’re turning older F-16s into unmanned drones.
There was a cheesy movie in the 80's that did this as well, heck if I remember what the name of the movie was though. It was fairly low budget and only made it on TV not the movies. It may have even been a 70's movie.
"Running out of F-4 drones? Let's use some old F-16s instead!"
Yes...but in truth, the F-35 will probably be the last manned combat aircraft.
Just like how guns became unnecessary around the time of Vietnam. I wouldn't be so quick to count manned combat aircraft out for good, in particular for air superiority craft, regardless of what people say. For bombers and other ground attack craft I can see this being the case for a number of reasons however.
On the contrary...air superiority aircraft would be the best to be unmanned because the limits of the human body directly limit the flight capabilities of combat aircraft...we could make aircraft much better at dodging bullets or missiles, but they would accelerate so quickly that the human pilot just couldn't take it....
Bombers on the other hand don't need such flight characteristics...
It'll be a long time, if ever.
The issues of High 'G' combat are to all intents and purposes meaningless as more and more we have seen the demise of 'dog fighting' since its origins in WW1.
The stand-off deployment of air-to-air missiles is seeing an end to the dog-fight. OK, they 'thought' it was gone pre Vietnam and suddenly found themselves adding cannon to F4s [the first didn't have them' - the last to do so time-wise was the Crusader. Vulcan cannons will be the last to 'go'.... being significantly effective rate-of-fire.
Current tech simply uses aerodynamically UNSTABLE aircraft made flyable by computer supervision enabling what was impossible dynamics. [look up 'cobra'].
INTELLIGENT piloting of a strike aircraft is why the SAC is still using planes....when ICBMs are supposedly 'better'....