Boeing Responds to Australia’s RFI for Future Lead-in Fighter Training Solution

Boeing has provided information to the Commonwealth of Australia on the T-7 in response to the AIR6002 Phase 1 future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS) program, the company announced.

The T-7, which is scalable, interoperable and configurable, is ideally suited to address the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) next-generation frontline fast-jet aircraft training requirements. The advanced pilot training system features a low-risk, leading-edge, live, virtual and constructive fifth-generation aircrew training environment.

“No other training system in the world today will better develop the skills required to operate the RAAF’s most advanced frontline aircraft like the F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and the F-35,” said Chuck Dabundo, Vice President, Boeing T-7 Programs.

The advanced system – which incorporates the T-7 aircraft and a suite of ground-based training and support equipment including simulators and digital debrief stations – has the flexibility to evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change.

“The T-7 stands apart as a compelling solution for Australia’s future training requirements,” said Scott Carpendale, Boeing Defence Australia Vice President and Managing Director. “We believe it meets Australia’s current and future fast-jet training needs with its next-generation system that combines live, virtual and synthetic training environments.”

In September 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a contract with a potential value of up to US $9.2 billion to supply 351 T-7A Red Hawk aircraft and 46 trainers to replace the Air Education and Training Command’s aging T-38 fleet.

The T-7A has recorded more than 200 engineering and manufacturing development flights to date, and is tracking to deliver to the USAF in support of initial operating capability (IOC) in 2024.

Boeing T-7 trainer aircraft
Boeing T-7 trainer aircraft. Boeing Photo.

Project AIR 6002 Phase 1 Future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS)

Earlier this year, Australia has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for the replacement of the Royal Australian Air Force Hawk 127 jet trainer fleet under the AIR 6002 Phase 1 Future Lead-In Fighter Training System (LIFTS) project.

The Defence White Paper 2016 directs that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) develops a force to meet the strategic objectives to deter, deny and defeat attacks or threats to Australia. The current Hawk 127 fleet – along with its full mission simulators and support systems – is key to this capability in that it prepares aircrew to undergo conversion training on frontline fast jet aircraft, while also supporting the ADF on various training and public relations initiatives.

“This AIR 6002 PH1 RFI seeks to ensure the continuity of this capability by canvasing industry for future LIFTS options”, said the RFI.

The possible contenders for the RAAF Hawk 127 replacement include the new Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk being developed for the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) T-50 Golden Eagle, the Leonardo M346 Master, and upgraded BAE Hawk.

RAAF Hawk 127 Fleet

The Royal Australian Air Force’s current lead-in fighter fleet consists of 33 Hawk 127 lead-in fighter and associated ground and related support systems. The aircraft is operated by No. 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown near Newcastle, and No. 79 Squadron at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth.

The Hawk 127 prepares qualified Air Force pilots for conversion to F/A-18A and F/A-18B Hornets and F/A-18F Super Hornets.

RAAF Hawk 127
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) HAWK 127 jet aircraft soars through the air during an air warfare exercise with the participating warships of Exercise KAKADU 2014. RAAF Photo.

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