The Boeing and Saab T-X aircraft. A Boeing photo
ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI (BNS): US defence major Boeing and its Swedish partner SAAB have unveiled a brand new aircraft for the US Air Force's T-X jet trainer programme.
The first two production T-X aircraft were unveiled on Sept. 13 at St. Louis to show the US Air Force the performance, affordability, and maintainability advantages of their approach.
"Boeing T-X is an all-new aircraft designed specifically for the US Air Force training mission, and takes advantage of the latest technologies, tools and manufacturing techniques.
"It is an advanced aircraft designed to evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change. The design is more affordable and flexible than older, existing aircraft," Boeing said in a statement.
"Our T-X is real, ready and the right choice for training pilots for generations to come," said Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret.
The single-engine aircraft having twin tails, stadium seating and an advanced cockpit with embedded training system offers state-of-the-art ground-based training and a maintenance-friendly design for long-term supportability.
"It's an honour to build the future of Air Force training," said SAAB President and CEO Hakan Buskhe, adding, "We have created the best solution thanks to great cooperation and a clear strategy since day one."
The US Air Force is looking to acquire around 350 next-generation jet trainers under the T-X programme, having an estimated value of US$ 8 billion, to replace the Northrop-built T-38s which are in service since 1959.
An RfP for the programme is likely to be issued in December this year followed by final contract award in 2017-18.
Initial operating capability for the new trainers is planned for 2024.
The other contenders for the programme include Lockheed Martin-Korea Aerospace Industries-built T-50A trainer aircraft; Northrop Grumman-BAE Systems team offering a newly-designed aircraft; and Raytheon-Leonardo Finmeccanica team offering the T-100 jet which is an advanced variant of the Aermacchi M-346 aircraft.