BAE Systems has responded to the US Air Force's draft key performance parameters (KPPs) for its nascent T-X jet trainer programme to replace the venerable Northrop T-38 Talon.
"We responded to that here just recently," says Bob Wood, BAE's campaign lead for the T-X programme. "We're very encouraged by the fact that the air force put that out."
Having examined the KPPs in detail, BAE is confident that the Hawk will meet the USAF's parameters. "The Hawk is going to meet all those requirements," Wood says.
BAE is partnered with Northrop Grumman to pitch the Hawk T2 jet trainer for the T-X requirement. The USAF hopes to have a new trainer operational by 2020, but has yet to issue a formal request for proposals.
Northrop will help manufacture the Hawk in the USA should the BAE team be selected for a prospective T-X competition. The programme's extensive ground simulation requirements would be filled by L-3 Communications, Wood says. Rolls-Royce makes the jet's Adour 951 engine.
The T2 is the latest version of the Hawk, with 28 already in service with the UK's Royal Air Force. The Hawk is also a proven aircraft, with more than 1,000 aircraft delivered or on order for numerous air forces, Wood says. "It's known as one of the most ubiquitous trainers in the world," he notes.
Wood emphasises BAE's deep commitment to the T-X programme. "We're very committed to this," he says. "We have invested in it, we're close to the customer on it, it is an important programme for us."
Competition is expected to come from Alenia Aermacchi and a yet to be announced US partner with the M-346, Lockheed Martin with the T-50 jointly developed with Korea Aerospace Industries and Boeing, which is believed to be working on a new design.