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Boeing Reveals Air Force T-X Competitor

 

 

Today, partners Boeing and Saab AB unveiled the first two aircraft produced for the U.S. Air Force’s on-again, off-again T-X competition, according to a Boeing news release. The first two aircraft, according to Boeing, are not prototypes but production aircraft, meant to demonstrate to the service the producibility, performance, affordability, and maintainability of their approach.

The Boeing T-X – its current name – is a new aircraft built for the U.S. Air Force’s pilot training mission and incorporates the latest tools, manufacturing techniques, and technologies. The airframe is designed to evolve with changes in technologies, missions, and training needs, making it a more flexible and affordable design than the service’s legacy T-38 trainer.

“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 Boeing T-X – its current name – is a new aircraft built for the U.S. Air Force’s pilot training mission and incorporates the latest tools, manufacturing techniques, and technologies. The airframe is designed to evolve with changes in technologies, missions, and training needs, making it a more flexible and affordable design than the service’s legacy T-38 trainer.

boeing t-x side

The Boeing T-X has a single GE F404 engine and is designed to deliver fighter-like maneuverability and performance. Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower

“It’s an honor to build the future of Air Force training,” said Saab President and CEO Håkan Buskhe. “We have created the best solution thanks to great cooperation and a clear strategy since day one.”

Features of the Boeing T-X include a single General Electric F404 engine, twin tails, tandem stepped “stadium seating,” and an advanced cockpit with embedded training software. Its system also provides state-of-the-art ground-based training and a maintenance-friendly design for long-term supportability.

Initial operating capability is planned for 2024. The Air Force plans to purchase 350 aircraft, with a total price tag of approximately $8.4 billion. Other competitors in the program include Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries, with the T-50; Raytheon, Leonardo and CAE with the T-100, based on the M-346; and Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and L-3 with another clean-sheet design.