Boeing wins USAF T-X trainer competition


By Dario Leone
May 11 2017
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Instead of the T-X Stockholm might consider a less expensive turboprop solution like the Pilatus PC-21 if the Pentagon chooses another solution for the USAF

According to Defense News, Sweden will only replace its aging Saab 105 jet trainer with the T-X trainer made by Boeing and Saab if the latter wins the U.S. Air Force’s T-X competition.

Currently the Flygvapnet (Swedish Air Force) has 50 Saab 105 trainers in service which, given that they were introduced in the late 1960s, are aging and increasingly more expensive to maintain.

Nevertheless, even if the Flygvapnet had originally planned to begin the Saab 105s retirement in the early 2020s, the Swedish government decided to continue operating them until about 2025 and 2026 meaning that the country is considering to buy the T-X, the trainer jointly designed by U.S. aerospace company Boeing and Sweden’s own Saab.

“We are looking into several different aircraft,” told Defense News Col. Magnus Liljegren, head of the Flygvapnet department at the Swedish Armed Forces Headquarters. “[The Boeing-Saab T-X] has all the capabilities that we need, that’s for sure,” he continued. “That will be a question of money, and it will raise some other questions [like] where can we fly it locally” because of noise.

Liljegren also added that Stockholm might consider a less expensive turboprop solution like the Pilatus PC-21 if the Pentagon chooses another solution for the USAF.

“If Saab-Boeing will not win, we will not take the aircraft that the U.S. Air Force will go for because it doesn’t make sense in that case,” he said.

Actually if Boeing-Saab T-X should win the U.S. Air Force (USAF) T-X competition, the subsequent contract would mark a major victory for Swedish aerospace industry, making it an attractive option for the Flygvapnet.

In fact even if the two companies have not revealed the workshare on the aircraft, a significant portion of the jet would be manufactured in Sweden.

But if the aircraft should lose the competition, the U.S. would not share the cost of starting T-X production, and the Flygvapnet would not consider the Boeing-Saab aircraft, Liljegren concluded.

Photo credit: Boeing

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Dario Leone

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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