Boeing/Saab joint T-X design wins Air Force’s jet trainer competition

Air Force turns to Boeing for $9.2 billion training aircraft contract

Air Force turns to Boeing for $9.2 billion training aircraft contract

The U.S. Air Force has selected the Boeing T-X advanced pilot training system which features an all-new aircraft designed, developed and flight-tested by the team of Boeing and Saab.

"The contract provides for the anticipated delivery of 351 aircraft, 46 associated training devices, and other ancillary supplies and service". This time, it's the Air Force's T-X next-generation advanced jet trainer contract.

The first new trainers and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Texas's Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in 2023.

Landing big defense contracts had been hard for Boeing, but Leanne Caret, the chief executive of Boeing's Defense, Space & Security since February 2016, has helped the company win more contracts.

The aerospace giant also scored a potential $13billion franchise to build MQ-25 carrier-based refueling drones for the U.S. Navy, and with Italian firm Leonardo won a $2.38billion contest to replace a fleet of Huey helicopters guarding the Air Force's intercontinental ballistic missile sites. Boeing's military arm has been eclipsed by the rapid growth of its commercial-jet unit this decade.

General Arnold Bunch of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition told reporters that "two-thirds of what we train for the fighters in the fourth and the fifth gen (eration) we actually can't do in the T-38". That approach may have raised the stakes somewhat: if the Air Force had gone with another company's plane, Boeing would have sunk millions of its own research and development capital into the project to little reward.

The Air Force now plans to purchase 351 of the jets and 46 simulators.

The T-X programme is valued at an estimated USD1 billion for 350 aircraft.

"Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program", she said in a statement. Lockheed Martin teamed with Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) to offer KAI's T-50A.

"We were disappointed to learn that the U.S. Air Force did not select our offering", a Lockheed Martin spokesman said in a statement Thursday.

The original service cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft, the Air Force said. CAFB will receive a new line of trainer jets to replace the almost 60-year-old T38.

The Defense Department said work will occur in St. Louis through 2034 under the IDIQ contract.

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