The US based aircraft manufacturer, Boeing has revealed its T-X offering in an effort to compete for the contract to build a new generation of jet trainers for the U.S Air Force (USAF).
The USAF plans to retire the Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon and replace it with a modern aircraft. There is healthy demand of 350 new trainer aircraft to meet training needs of fighter pilots.
Boeing has built two aircraft for testing purposes, and revealed a twin-tailed design developed in partnership with Saab – a Swedish firm.
Darryl Davis, president of Boeing’s Phantom Works advanced division, called it a “modern design that enables better manoeuvrability than a single-tailed aircraft.” The trainer comes with a single General Electric Aviation GE 404 engine, a glass cockpit and supports open systems architecture.
One of two prototypes, the first has begun ground testing. The maiden flight is scheduled for the end of this year. The second prototype will go under structural proof tests within days.
Boeing and Saab have used the latest manufacturing techniques for example: additive manufacturing or 3-D printing, and new kinds of adhesives that make the aircraft’s canopy easier to build.
Details are missing on the work split between Boeing and Saab. However, the new design appears inspired from the both, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen combat aircraft.
A final Request for Proposals (RFP) is expected within this year, and a decision is expected next year. The new trainer is slated to enter into services in 2024.
Source: Defense Update