Boeing and Saab will work together to develop a new advanced jet trainer for the planned T-X programme to replace the US Air Force's venerable Northrop T-38C Talon.

Under the two companies' joint development agreement, Boeing will act as the prime contractor and Saab the primary partner, Boeing said in a statement. The partnership will deal with all aspects of the bid, including design, development, production, support, sales and marketing.

Boeing says the trainer aircraft that they will propose will be a “completely new designed aircraft, built to meet the needs of the air force”.

“Boeing and Saab look forward to the upcoming acquisition process, which will lead to the customer awarding the contract,” says Boeing.

“The US Air Force T-X program will include aircraft and training that will prepare warfighters for the next 40 years. The Air Force plans to replace the T-38 with a new Advanced Pilot Training Family of Systems and about 350 aircraft, plus associated ground-based training systems and logistics and sustainment support.”

The T-X competition is likely to be among the USAF’s biggest acquisition programmes in the coming decade. The USAF strategy for the T-X is still evolving. The service had released proposed requirements for an off-the-shelf aircraft, with the Korea Aerospace/Lockheed Martin T-50, Alenia Aermacchi T-100 derivative of the M-346 and the BAE Systems Hawk T2 each expressing interest.