Does the US Air Force want to buy an all-new jet to replace the ubiquitous Northrop T-38C, or will it settle for an off-the-shelf option? Will the USAF be pressured to favor an all-US system, or will it be allowed to buy an aircraft with substantial foreign content?
How the USAF answers those questions could make or break one possible strategy Boeing is considering to win the $10 billion T-X contract.
According to my sources, Boeing believes the USAF wants a “purpose-built” jet to replace the T-38C, and, thus, could propose a new airframe packed with mature technologies. Click on the headline below to read my news article, which was published on Flightglobal.com this morning.
Boeing could propose developing a “purpose-built” airframe as one ofseveral options to replace the US Air Force’s fleet of Northrop T-38jet trainers, say industry officials.
The potential Boeing offer throws a twist into the competitive fieldfor the T-X contract, which could be worth $10 billion and which theUSAF has suggested could range from 350 to 500 new jets.
The USAF has a reputation — perhaps unfairly — for favoring aircraft performance over cost and development risk, especially when it comes to equipping its fighter pilots. But it’s difficult to see how a new-start aircraft development program gets funded over the next several years, given obvious budget trends.