Lockheed Martin could start delivering T-50As to USAF by 2022, ahead of the 2024 initial operating capability (IOC) requested by the service for the T-X competition
As reported by Washingtonexaminer in fact, Rob Weiss, the executive vice president and general manager of aeronautics advanced development programs, claimed that Lockheed Martin could start delivering T-50As to USAF by 2022, ahead of the 2024 initial operating capability (IOC) requested by the service for the T-X competition.
“If there’s a desire for an earlier IOC, we will be ready,” Rob Weiss was quoted as saying.
The company is partnering with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) on the T-50A, a modified version of the T-50, for the bidding process. Proposals were submitted to the Air Force on Mar. 30.
T-X is aimed to procure 350 new two-seat jet trainers to replace the service legacy T-38 Talon.
Weiss also explained that unlike other firms’ proposals designed specifically to compete for the T-X contract (which actually could be delayed until 2028 or later because of additional hurdles that clean-sheet designs need to overcome), the off-the-shelf T-50A could be flying six years ahead of other bidders aircraft.
Noteworthy at least two other T-X offerings will be competing for the $16.3 billion contract. Italy’s Leonardo announced that it will submit a modified version of its M-346 advanced trainer after pulling out of its partnership with Raytheon this year, while Boeing is partnering with Saab on a clean-sheet design.
Instead Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems announced this year they were dropping out after having discussing entering the competition as a team.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin