Four defense contractors and their partners are lining up bids to build the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation fighter trainer, via the service’s long-awaited T-X programme.
The competitors include partnerships of Alenia Aermacchi/General Dynamics, BAE Systems/NorthropGrumman and Korea Aerospace Industries/Lockheed Martin – which plan to pitch versions of existing aircraft – and Boeing, which will propose a clean-sheet design in partnership with Saab.
Analysts say the three known aircraft candidates give the USAF a broad range of options, both in terms of price and performance. “They all have a good product, and I don’t think anyone has a particular advantage,” believes Mark Gunzinger, from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The program calls for the acquisition of 350 aircraft to replace the USAF’s 1960s-era Northrop T-38 Talons, which the USAF’s Air Education and Training Command says lack the technology and performance necessary for fifth-generation fighter training.
For the complete story by Jon Hemmerdinger of Flightglobal.com, click here.