USAF to Replace T-38 Talon
As the United States government seeks for new ways of reducing military spending, the T-X program seems to be a very lucrative military contract available for the defense industry. Around 350 aircraft are anticipated to be purchased in order to replace the T-38 Talon aircraft, which was manufactured originally by Northrop Grumman Corporation. This potential order for 350 aircrafts is estimated to be valued at $8.4 billion. The entire program has an expected lifetime cycle of roughly 50 years.
Analysts have suggested that the project value may potentially rise to nearly $50 billion, as the number of aircrafts ordered may be raised to nearly 1,000 over the span of the program. Several big defense firms and organizations have already stated their involvement with the program, such as Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Alenia Aremacchi, as well as BAE Systems.
The United States Air Force has been operating the T-38 Talon for several decades, as the airplane has been in production for 55 years. These aircrafts have an average life of 43.5 years. The Air Force desperately seeks to replace their Talon fleet, as they wish to have 80% aircraft availability level with the new trainer, which is something that the T-38 Talon simply cannot provide.
In 2003, initial work on the project commenced. At that time, it was expected that the new plane would be entering into service in 2020, though due to spending cutbacks and budget concerns since that time, the aircraft is now anticipated to enter into service in 2023. In 2017, the contract will be awarded.
The United States Air Force revealed the program’s requirements on March 20, emphasizing the need for a jet which would prepare pilots to operate fifth-generation fighters like the F-35 as well as the F-22. It was particularly stressed that the pilots should be prepared for increased information processing. The cost cap has already been established by the Air Force, though this value has not yet been disclosed to the public.
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