Air Force turns to Boeing for $9.2 billion training aircraft contract

By  Valerie Insinna  2 hours ago   Two Boeing Saab T-X jets fly above St. Louis Mo

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators.

Boeing and Saab's T-X trainer would replace the Air Education and Training Command's 57-year-old fleet of Northrop T-38C Talons.

The new sophisticated training system will help train fighter and bomber pilots of the Air Force for generations to come, and Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the Advanced Pilot Training Program. The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph in Texas in 2023. Earlier last week, the Air Force awarded a Boeing-Leonardo team the contract to build a replacement for the UH-1N Huey helicopter, edging out Sierra Nevada Corp. Full delivery and deployment of the T-X is expected in 2034. Boeing's military arm has been eclipsed by the rapid growth of its commercial-jet unit this decade.

In an article at Forbes.com, Aboulafia said the next major US military aircraft selection, likely a new Air Force fighter, might not happen for 12 years or longer.

The U.S. Air Force announced Thursday that Boeing Co.

Before the Air Force announcement, aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia described T-X as "the last undecided USA military aircraft competition for many years to come".

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Boeing and its risk-sharing partner, Sweden's Saab, beat out a team-up involving Lockheed Martin and Korean Aerospace Industries as well as a bid from Leonardo DRS, a USA subsidiary of Italy's Leonardo aerospace firm. "We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century".

In its bid, Lockheed had offered a modified version of its T-50 training jet manufactured in conjunction with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd, while Italy's Leonardo DRS had offered the T-100, which is a modified version of the Italian aerospace company's M-346.

The service touted over $10 billion in cost savings from its previous program estimate of $19 billion.

"The announcement is good news for Saab, Boeing's main partner in the F-X program".

Lockheed Martin, the defense giant that builds the F-35, entered the competition with a plane it called the T-50 and which was derived from the F-16 Falcon.

The company said more than 90 percent of its offerings under the contract will be made in America, supporting more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.

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