Military Embedded Systems

T-X pilot training program bid won by Boeing-led team


September 28, 2018

Mariana Iriarte

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo: John Parker, Boeing

ARLINGTON, Va. U.S. Air Force officials selected a Boeing-led team for the T-X training aircraft program. The contract is worth up to $9.2 billion.

Boeing partnered with Saab to bid for the program. To win the bid the team designed, developed, and flight tested two all-new, purpose-built jets showcasing the system’s design, repeatability in manufacturing and training capability to Air Force officials.

An initial delivery order for $813 million provides for the engineering and manufacturing development of the first five aircraft and seven simulators.

Boeing is now clear to begin placing orders with its suppliers. More than 90 percent of Boeing’s offering will be made in America, supporting more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract supports the Air Force's objective of an initial operational capability by 2024 and full operational capability by 2034. It allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators.

The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X, Air Force officials say. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment to replace the Air Education and Training Command's 57-year-old fleet of T-38C Talons.

"This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots," Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson says. "Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program."

The original service cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft. The T-X program is expected to provide student pilots in undergraduate- and graduate-level training courses with the skills and competencies required to transition to 4th- and 5th-generation fighter and bomber aircraft.


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