Military Aviation

Boeing wins USAF T-X trainer competition

Boeing beat out Lockheed, which was offering a modified version of its T-50 training jet developed jointly with KAI and also beat Italy’s Leonardo, which offered the T-100

According to Reuters, Boeing was selected to build the U.S. Air Force’s next training jet in a contract worth up to $9.2 billion over the life of the program, the service said on Sep. 27, 2018.

Boeing teamed up with Sweden’s Saab to develop a new plane for the competition, beating out Lockheed Martin and Leonardo.

Named T-X, the aircraft has one engine, twin tails, stadium seating, and an advanced cockpit with embedded training. According to Boeing, the all-new, purpose-built design offers flexibility to evolve as technology, missions, and training needs change.

Boeing and Saab flew the first aircraft in December 2016 after having revealed their design in September the same year.

The USAF plans to purchase 351 of the jets. The service expects the program to reach full operation in 2034.

Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The win is significant for Boeing, which reorganized its defense business more than a year ago in the hopes of a “franchise level” win such as the trainer.

Boeing beat out Lockheed, which was offering a modified version of its T-50 training jet developed jointly with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) and also beat Italy’s Leonardo, which offered the T-100, a modified version of the Italian aerospace company’s M346.

The Air Force wants to replace its aging fleet of T-38 planes, which are nearly 50 years old.

This award from the Air Force comes after Boeing has had trouble delivering to the Air Force its new in-air refueling jet, the KC-46.

Photo credit: Boeing

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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