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Raytheon/Leonardo Team Pulls Out of T-X Competition

 

Raytheon Company and Leonardo have withdrawn as a team from pursuing the U.S. Air Force Advanced Pilot Training Program, or T-X, according to press releases from both companies.

“In February 2016, Raytheon and Leonardo announced their intent to team on the T-X pursuit. While we remain confident that the T-100 is a strong solution, our companies were unable to reach a business agreement that is in the best interest of the U.S. Air Force,” said B.J. Boling, Raytheon spokesperson. “Consequently, Raytheon and Leonardo will not jointly pursue the T-X competition.”

While Raytheon has now withdrawn, it remains a possibility that Leonardo will re-submit a proposal alone or with another partner. The company has sold M-346 variants to Italy, Israel, Singapore, and Poland.

The T-100 proposal’s aircraft component was based on the Italian AlenaAermacchi M-346. A series of mergers and name changes found the M-346 a product of Leonardo Company. There were known issues to do with teaming arrangements between Raytheon and Leonardo, and apparently these could not be resolved. Raytheon had previously announced that, should their proposal win the competition, final assembly and checkout of the aircraft would have been carried out at a new plant in Meridian, Mississippi.

T-X T-100

A pair of T-100 jet trainers taking off. PRNewsFoto/Raytheon Company

Leonardo’s very similar news release quoted Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo Head of Aircraft Division, with the quote differing from the one above:

“In February 2016, Raytheon and Leonardo announced their intent to team on the T-X pursuit. While they remain confident that the T-100 is a strong solution, the companies were unable to reach a business agreement,” said Filippo Bagnato, Leonardo Head of Aircraft Division. “Consequently, Raytheon and Leonardo will not jointly pursue the T-X competition.”

Notably, while Raytheon’s release stated the two companies were unable to reach a business agreement “…that is in the best interest of the U.S. Air Force,” Leonardo’s stated the companies were unable to reach a business agreement, period.

While Raytheon has now withdrawn, it remains a possibility that Leonardo will re-submit a proposal alone or with another partner. The company has sold M-346 variants to Italy, Israel, Singapore, and Poland.

Remaining competitors include Lockheed Martin, with the T-50A; Northrop Grumman, BAE Systems and L-3 with a clean-sheet design; a Boeing/Saab Ab team, with the T-X, and, as Aviation Week recently reported, Sierra Nevada, teamed with Turkish Aerospace Industries.