Saab Receives Order from Boeing for EMD Phase of USAF’s Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft, T-X

Saab has received an order from Boeing for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase for the Advanced Pilot Training Aircraft, T-X.

The value of this order is approximately MUSD 117.6. The order will run until 2022.

Saab and Boeing were selected by the U.S. Air Force on Sept. 27 for the T-X programme, a new era in Saab and Boeing’s partnership going forward. The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract awarded allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators. The Air Force currently plans to purchase 351 T-X aircraft, 46 simulators, and associated ground equipment to replace the Air Education and Training Command’s 57-year-old fleet of Northrop T-38 Talon aircraft.

The T-X programme is divided into multiple phases. This order to Saab concerns the first phase, EMD, in which Saab and Boeing industrialise the T-X aircraft together with the customer. EMD includes testing, U.S. military flight certification and delivery of five jets. The EMD phase will be followed by a serial production phase.

“This order is an exciting step towards a whole new era when it comes to trainer jets. It lays the foundation for our joint work for many years to come. We look forward to taking these next steps together with Boeing,” says Håkan Buskhe, President and CEO of Saab.

Saab and Boeing have developed the T-X aircraft together. Saab is a risk-sharing partner with Boeing in the development. The companies designed, developed, and flight-tested two all-new, purpose-built jets – proving out the system’s design and repeatability in manufacturing and training capability.

Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the advanced pilot training system acquisition by the U.S. Air Force.

The T-X program requirements were released by the Air Force on March 20, 2015, and a a formal request for proposal (RFP) was issued on Dec. 30, 2016.The RFP includes 350 aircraft and initial operational capability (IOC) by 2024. Further purchases could push the total number of aircraft in USAF service to over 1,000.

The other major  competitors for the contract were Italy’s Leonardo S.p.A. with the M-346-based T-100 and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)/Lockheed Martin with the T-50 Golden Eagle.

The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

The T-X fleet is scheduled to receive initial operational capability by 2024 and full operational capability by 2034.

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