Aircraft

Boeing and Saab roll out T-X fifth-generation jet fighter trainer

The Boeing/Saab T-X will compete to replace the US Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 jet trainers
The Boeing/Saab T-X will compete to replace the US Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 jet trainers
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The Boeing/Saab T-X will compete to replace the US Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 jet trainers
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The Boeing/Saab T-X will compete to replace the US Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 jet trainers
The T-X was decked out in training livery
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The T-X was decked out in training livery
The T-X has a twin-tail design
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The T-X has a twin-tail design
The T-X is already in production status
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The T-X is already in production status

Finally sating the curiosity in aviation circles, Boeing and partner Saab have taken the wraps off their long-teased T-X military jet training aircraft in St. Louis. The single-engine, two-seater aircraft is the focus of a major competition worth billions of dollars to replace the US Air Force's aging fleet of T-38 trainers with a modern design for future pilots of fifth-generation fighters.

Boeing and Saab revealed two production T-X aircraft, which will be used to demonstrate the aircraft's capabilities to the Air Force and the US Defense Department. The T-X is a "blank-sheet" aircraft designed specifically to meet Air Force training requirements for pilots of fifth-generation fighters, such as the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. Boeing says the design is inexpensive, flexible, and easily upgradeable as new technology comes online.

Like most trainers, the T-X has a sleek, greyhound-like design with a single-engine and twin tails derived from Boeing's F/A-18 for greater maneuverability and a high angle of attack. It also has stadium seating and an advanced cockpit with embedded training as well as the ability to blend with state-of-the-art ground-based training. In addition, it is maintenance-friendly in anticipation of decades of service.

The T-X is already in production status
The T-X is already in production status

The two production T-X aircraft have already been built will be followed by three more to demonstrate competitiveness in terms of quick delivery against competitors that are offering off-the-shelf aircraft.

If successful, the T-X will replace the Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 aircraft that have been in service for over half a century and the first T-X would enter service in 2024. Since the program anticipates a minimum order of 350 aircraft, this is a major contract worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Such a win would not only look good on Boeing's books, but it would also allow the company to reassert itself in the warplane market after losing out on the F-35 fighter and the Long Range Strike Bomber competitions to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, respectively. In addition, training aircraft often find secondary overseas markets as light fighter aircraft, so another revenue stream is possible.

The T-X was decked out in training livery
The T-X was decked out in training livery

But this is far from a done deal. The Boeing/Saab T-X faces stiff competition from the partnership of Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries, as well as Northrop Grumman, Alenia Aermacchi, and Textron AirLand.

The videos below show the T-X being prepared for rollout and an animation of a pair strutting their stuff.

Source: Boeing

Boeing T-X Sees the Light

Boeing T-X: The Future of Pilot Training

12 comments
LaurencePotgieter
costs how much to government defense departments, using taxpayer money, instead of looking after the people? what would the voters want, fighter jets (and trainers in this case) or better infrastructure? manufacturing weapons of war for billions is no longer defensible, no pun intended!
Deres
I am a bit surprise that they say loudkly it is an inexpensive design ... The double tail and the complex fuselage retracting landing gear are not the less expensive solutions. It seems they mainly choose to use the F-18 aerodynamic design.
Bob
Could they put some smaller wheels on it?
jerryd
F18s cost less than the stated price. If they can't build them for under $10mm each, they need to find someone who can. I think it's time to give say 10 pilots and 10 engineers $10mm to build a trainer plus the engine. More for larger but aircraft is not rocket science and we can't afford the parasites anymore as big defense corporations only has driving up the price in mind. Pilots that have to do the missions using say 4 teams for each aircraft type build theirs and have a fly off. It would cost 20% of the scam going on now and have more and better planes.
DaleBarclay
A lot depends on how much off the shelf items you can use in the design. We need cheap and nasty planes to defend ourselves and to train pilots. As long as Boeing and Saab keep their feet on the ground this should be ok. You do not need all the high tech gear stuffed into a trainer. It is to teach someone how to fly, not fight at this time in their training. Simulators can teach a pilot how to use the high tech gear. The F-5 was the combat version of the T-38.
M.Power
If this contract is worth potentially "hundreds of billions", and Boeing is aiming to build 350, then each plane is going to cost roughly $800 million!!!!! Are you out of your !$&@?!! minds!!! Can the Federal Reserve afford that much paper and ink to cover this procurement?!!
yawood
@M.Power - A good percentage of that "hundreds of billions" will be used to support the aircraft with spares, maintenance, ground support etc over the life of the aircraft (i.e. cradle to grave). You cannot simply take that figure and divide by the number of aircraft to get a per unit build cost (unless you see that as a per unit cost over the next twenty or thirty years). Somewhat like leasing a car, where it covers not only the purchase price of the vehicle but also the scheduled maintenance, fuel and other running costs and some replacement parts like tyres etc.
guzmanchinky
Oooh, good looking plane.
StWils
So, for the most part we have heard from people who do not know Jack about defense or complex system developement and also from a few who imagine that not having modern forces is a good thing. Modernizing all Defense & Intelligence community systems, equipment, practices, & tools is an ongoing and vital part of protecting our society. Not doing so is extraordinarily stupid. Literally Trump sized Stupid. I would like to know if and or, how well the basic aircraft can also be "droned" to achieve a third basic path for usage? During one of Israels war with the PLO they attacked up the Bekaa river valley using US target drone aircraft as the leading edge of the attack. The drones emitted an electronic signature that intentionally "looked like" either Israeli F15s or 16s which prompted the Soviet supplied air defense radars to light up. Actual Israeli fighters followed about ten miles back, noted the radars locations and then obliterated them and their missile launchers. Very successful, and very much an indication of future tactics.
LaurencePotgieter
StWils while your comment has merit from a point of view of our current capitalist (and other very flawed systems) world, it nevertheless originates from the old combative confrontational model. Here at Gizmag, notice how they allow free debate to completely alternative thinkers - in fact many articles are about green initiatives illustrate this a bit. All readers of Gizmag (i chuckle here at myself refusing to use the name "new atlas", it sucks) love fast bikes, cars, planes. Those new Russian SU's are really something: so do not think that we are primitive hippies. Just hippies crying about extremely skewed expenditure of massive government money, which you, the taxpayer, must fork out. I must gently enquire whether you defend such expenditure because that industry provides your employment, directly or indirectly? I am not suggesting that Gizmag stops airing such articles. Their very wide scope is cause for praise.