Stavatti Aerospace has thrown its hat – or Javelin – into the ring to replace the US Air Force's jet trainer fleet. Coming in the wake of two major contestants withdrawing from the USAF Advanced Pilot Training Program (T-X) competition, the Javelin's entry shows that the contest to succeed the Air Force's fleet of 400 T-38 aircraft that have been in service for over half a century is still very much open.

According to Stavatti, the twin-engine, two-seater Javelin began life in 1998 as the Javelin Mk-30 – a two-seat civil jet sport plane developed by the Aviation Technology Group (ATG) starting in 1998. Despite drawing orders for 151 aircraft and a 2004 partnership with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) to develop a military version, the Javelin Mk-30 only reached the prototype phase before the company declared bankruptcy in 2008.

On November 14, 2016, Minnesota-based Stavatti was awarded a license to develop, prototype, certify, manufacture, sell, and support the Javelin. The company then began redesign work before announcing its entry into the T-X competition.

Like most jet trainers, the Javelin is a small two-seater, but unlike its civilian predecessor it includes a number of structural improvements to allow the airframe to pull nine Gs as well as handling more powerful engines and greater fuel capacity and payload.

The Javelin's maximum speed is Mach 1.36 (1.035 mph, 1,666 km/h) and the company says in addition to serving as a high performance military jet trainer, the aircraft will be available for sale to allied air forces as a Very Light Fighter (VLF) aircraft.

Stavatti says that is looking for a larger prime contractor as a partner to help with the manufacture, training, and contractor logistical support for the aircraft. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon have both withdrawn from the T-X competition in recent weeks, leaving the field to Stavatti, Lockheed Martin, Alenia Aermacchi, Textron AirLand, and Sierra Nevada Corporation.

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