In a presentation Tuesday at the company’s defense facility in St. Louis, The Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) unveiled its entry into the contract competition for a new training jet for the U.S. Air Force. Called the T-X for now, the new aircraft is a clean-sheet design from Boeing and its partner in the bidding, Sweden’s Saab, and would replace the current Air Force trainer, the T-38.
Boeing first teased its design at the Air Force Association conference in September of last year and launched a website last month that offered a “sneak peek” at the design it has prepared with Saab.
Boeing said Tuesday that it will use the two production aircraft that it and Saab have built “to show the U.S. Air Force the performance, affordability, and maintainability advantages” to their T-X. The Boeing website features a new video of a computer-generated T-X.
In late August Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) and its partners began runway testing of its clean-sheet design to replace the T-38.
As the release of the U.S. Air Force request for proposal (RFP) for a new training jet, the four competitors have all now either shown a modified version of a real plane or drawings of an all-new, clean-sheet design.
In addition to the clean-sheet design from Northrop Grumman and its partners, Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and Raytheon Corp. (NYSE: RTN) have also proposed modified versions of existing training jets.
The Air Force released its final draft RFP last month and is expected to have the final document released late this year or early next. That will start the clock running on a one-year evaluation phase according to Aviation Week. A milestone decision is expected early in fiscal year 2018 and entry into service is currently set for 2024.
The initial phase of the contract is worth about $8.4 billion, but the total could run much higher. The Air Force plans to buy 350 of the new planes.
Boeing’s defense president and CEO Leanne Caret said, “Our T-X is real, ready and the right choice for training pilots for generations to come.” The following photo of the real thing is also available at Boeing’s website.