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T-X Advanced Trainer - Background

The T-38 is a twin engine, two seat (tandem), supersonic jet trainer used by Air Education Training Command as an advanced trainer in Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training. Modifications are budgeted to enhance operational capability while improving flight safety, reliability, and maintainability. The primary modifications budgeted in FY10 are the Escape System Upgrade Program (ESUP), Propulsion Modernization Program (PMP) and Pacer Classic III (a FY10 new start to ensure the structural service life of the T-38 to 2020). The T-38 Improved Brake System Program (IBSP) has been cancelled. It was going to replace the current wheel and brake and associated parts, add a new anti-skid capability, update Aircrew Training Devices (ATD). The IBSP was cancelled for two reasons: it was late to need relative to the planned retirement of the T-38 system and improved parts for the existing brake system had become available.

Pacer Classic III (PC III) is a modification program which ensures structural sustainment of 125 T-38C aircraft at high risk of grounding prior to FY2020. Timely modifications will ensure execution of customer (Air Education and Training Command) mission to FY2026. PC III will replace major structural components within the aircraft forward and center fuselages. PC III will replace five major longerons, four bulkheads/formers, four internal skins and five structural floors for each affected aircraft. PC III program direction is provided by Program Management Directive (PMD) 2338(4) and 1067: AETC 2009-002. The T-38 System Program Office (SPO), funded by the lead MAJCOM AETC & Euro Nato Jet Pilot (ENJJPT) has defined and will accommodate the PC III structural retrofit. PC III installations will be performed by 309 MXW forward operating location (FY2011-FY2018).

The Air Force Fiscal Year 2012 RDT&E Budget Request included $15.9M for the completion of concept development activities and initiation of the Technology Development phase for the T-X Advanced Trainer Replacement Program, a family of fully integrated systems that will modernize how effectively and efficiently Air Force pilots are trained. The Air Force planned to meet a 2017 initial operational capability date for the T-X by pursuing an acquisition strategy that minimized schedule risk. Specifically, the Air Force gave primary consideration to existing, non-developmental advanced trainer aircraft. As of 2011 the Air Force was developing a 30-year life cycle cost estimate in accordance with Department of Defense and Service guidelines. This estimate would project life cycle costs for a variety of alternative courses of action, including service life extension of the current aircraft as well as non-developmental and developmental solutions.

In the May 11, 2012. report on the FY2013 Authorization Act, the House Armed Services Committee noted that " ... the budget request for fiscal year 2013 would delay the TX initial operational capability (IOC) from fiscal year 2017 to fiscal year 2020, and believes that any further delay in the program schedule may create safety and operational risks to future pilots through the operation of an aging T38 fleet, while it may also increase fifth generation pilot training shortfalls for the F22, F35 and future long range strike aircraft. The committee is concerned that the budget request of $1.6 million for fiscal year 2013, and $6.0 million planned for fiscal year 2014, may not support the current acquisition schedule which would begin the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) program phase in fiscal year 2014. Therefore, the committee encourages the Department of the Air Force to review, and if necessary, revise its TX program budget plans for the fiscal year 2014 budget request to support TX program entry into the EMD phase not later than fiscal year 2014 so that the TX IOC can be achieved in fiscal year 2020. Additionally, the committee understands that the Department plans to conduct its industry day, and other activities prior to its submission of a TX request for proposal, in calendar year 2012, and urges the Department to adhere to this plan."

The Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) Branch (WLZA), Training Aircraft Division, Mobility Directorate, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, conducted an Industry Day on 29-31 Jan 2013 at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center. The purpose of this event was to broaden United States Air Force knowledge on the depth, breadth and dynamics of the market, communicate to industry pre-decisional information on the Advanced Pilot Training (APT) Family of Systems (FoS), and allow industry to offer candid feedback, especially with respect to affordability and costs versus capability analyses currently being conducted by the government program team.

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Page last modified: 31-01-2017 16:07:33 ZULU