Apr 1, 2015

T-X Buy Could Grow by 200 Jets

If the US Air Force decides to move in the direction of a unified undergraduate jet trainer, the winner of the T-X trainer replacement competition could see its production run jump by an estimated 200 jets.
However, that decision is still far off and would likely be part of a separate buy after the T-X contract is awarded sometime in late 2017.
Pilot training currently consists of classroom work and basic flight training on a T-6 single-engine turboprop before splitting off into several different tracts. Those on the fighter or bomber track receive training on the T-38 Talon, while airlift and tanker pilots receive training on the T-1 Jayhawk.
The service is focused on replacing the T-38 because of the age of the fleet and the fact that the Talon cannot provide the training capabilities needed by pilots for fifth-generation aircraft like the F-22 and F-35. While the focus was on T-X, there is a growing awareness that a replacement for the Jayhawk is eventually needed.
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act included a requirement for the Air Force to investigate options to modernize or replace the T-1.
It is easy to see the possibility of saved money by combining the advanced training from two aircraft to one, particularly if the Jayhawk will need to be replaced with a new design.

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