Boeing is positioning its T-X advanced jet trainer and its accompanying training system for a long-term requirement in Australia.
No request for proposals has been issued, but Boeing has held discussions with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for the T-X, says Boeing vice-president Thom Breckenridge.
“There is no specific RFP yet, but we do understand there is a requirement and we’ve had discussions with the RAAF.”
He adds that Boeing has held discussions about the T-X with several nations. He believes there is a large opportunity for the type in Asia-Pacific, although the discussions thus far have been mainly exploratory to better understand customer needs.
Asked if customers are asking for a ground attack capability, Breckenridge said that Boeing sees “different needs in different places.”
“There is a lot of opportunity in the Asia-Pacific and our focus is working with customers.”
He stressed that the T-X is not just an aircraft, but a holistic system that includes ground-based training and support.
As for the aircraft itself, he pointed out a number of attributes that help with the training mission. These include a cockpit that can accommodate pilots of “all shapes and sizes,” which effectively broadens the pool of trainee pilots.
The canopy’s opening to the side allows for the easy swapping of ejection seats if necessary.
On maintainability, the aircraft is designed with ease of maintenance, including higher wings that maintainers can walk under without hitting their heads, and panels optimized for access to internal compartments.
In 2018, a joint team of Boeing and Saab won a competition to replace the venerable Northrop T-38 in US Air Force service with the T-X.
Cirium Fleets Analyzer shows that the RAAF operates 33 BAE Systems Hawk 127s in the fast-jet training role. The average age of this fleet is 18 years.