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T-X Advanced Trainer Replacement

The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Missouri, was awarded on 27 September 2018 an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with an estimated ceiling of $9,202,568,686 for the Advanced Pilot Training aircraft and ground-based training systems. The contract provides for the anticipated delivery of 351 aircraft, 46 associated training devices, and other ancillary supplies and service (e.g., initial spares, support equipment, sustainment, and training). The contract includes the initial delivery order for engineering and manufacturing development of Advanced Pilot Training aircraft and ground-based training systems for $813,385,533.

The maximum quantity of aircraft and training devices the Air Force can purchase under this indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is 475 aircraft and 120 ground based training systems. Work will be performed in St. Louis, Missouri, and is expected to be complete by 2034. This award is the result of a competitive acquisition. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $33,600,000 are being obligated on the first delivery order at the time of award. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8617-18-D-6219).

"This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots," Secretary of the Air Force Heather A. Wilson said. "Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program." The original service cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team," said Leanne Caret, president and CEO, Boeing Defense, Space & Security. "It is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system centered on the unique requirements of the U.S. Air Force. We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century." The fighter-like trainer aircraft, which was designed for ease of maintenance, is the cornerstone of an all-new pilot training system that also includes classroom training and simulators. It will help train future fighter and bomber pilots for generations to come.

Boeing offered the only all-new system purpose-built for the U.S. Air Force training mission with aircraft, ground based training and support designed together from the start. Proven in manufacturing and flight test, the new, flexible design met all requirements and can evolve as technologies, missions and training needs change.

The first T-X aircraft and simulators are scheduled to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023. All undergraduate pilot training bases will eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X. Those bases include: Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma.

The US Air Force released the final request for proposals [RFP] for the T-38 trainer replacement program 30 Decembe 2016. The USAF was expected to award the contract in 2017, to reach initial operational capability [IOC] by the fourth quarter of Fiscal Year 2024. The Advanced Pilot Training (T-X) program will provide student pilots in Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) advanced phase and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) with the skills and competencies required to transition into 4th- and 5th-generation fighter aircraft.

The T-X Advanced Trainer Replacement is closely watched for several reasons. First, with a projected 350 T-X aircraft at 7 AETC training locations, and associated ground training systems, this is will be a major defense acquisition program. Overall investment costs (e.g. integration, test, and procurement) are projected to be over $10 billion. Second, these numbers are small relative to the total potential world wide market. By the year 2015 there were nearly 15,000 fighters in service around the world. Generously assuming a 30 year operating life, this suggested an annual replacement market of about 500 aircraft annually. While a few operators will look up-market to the F-35 or J-31, many low end operators will be attracted to a 5-ton / Mach 0.8 turboprop aircraft. But most operators will be looking for a rather less expensive replacement in the region of a 9-ton / Mach 1.5 jet aircraft.

The Advanced Trainer Replacement, T-X, will replace the USAF T-38 aircraft and associated Ground Based Training System (GBTS) currently used in the fighter / bomber advanced Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training (SUPT) track as well as in the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) program. The T-38 was first introduced in 1961 and as of 2010 was projected to begin phase out by 2017. This was a new start in FY2011. FY2011 plans include completion of Material Solution Analysis, Milestone A, and initiation of competitive prototyping activities. Budget Activity Justification. This project is in Budget Activity 5, System Development and Demonstration (SDD), because it primarily involves the missionization of essentially non-developmental aircraft, equipment, and components.

Advanced Pilot Training (APT) Family of Systems (FoS) program, commonly referred to as "T-X", is the yet un-named/un-numbered aircraft and accompanying ground system that will meet USAF advanced pilot training needs for the next several decades. Pilot candidates destined for fighter and bomber assignments will train in T-X from the time they complete basic pilot training in the T-6 Texan II, until they begin to fly their assigned aircraft, such as the B-1, F-15E, F-22, or F-35. Currently, this advanced pilot training is conducted with the T-38C Talon. Additionally, new pilots destined for the F-22 fly the F-16D (the two-seat model) in preparation for Initial F-22 training. The T-38 capability gaps consist mainly of advanced systems training, aerial refueling, and sustained Gs. With T-X, the Air Force will no longer need to push those skill sets to later training programs, nor need the F-16D training "bridge" to the F-22.

AETC had a baseline of 283 Primary Aircraft Inventory (PAI) with a UTE of 27. HAF estimates for total flying hours vary through IOC. An additional 67 aircraft will be used for Backup Aircraft Inventory (BAI) and attrition aircraft. The Air Force planned to award a contract for 350 T-Xs to replace the 431 AETC T-38s in the fall of 2017, with initial operational capability by the end of 2023. The service will accept proposals for currently fielded and clean-sheet designs to meet the Air Force's undergraduate pilot and introduction to fighter fundamentals training needs.

A full RFP release was expected in 2017, which would lead into a one-year competitive downselect and a four-year development phase, for initial operational capability in 2023. Developmental Test & Evaluation (DT&E) will be conducted at multiple locations. The USAF envisions test aircraft to be delivered to Edwards AFB CA to conduct and complete DT&E prior to delivery to the using command for IOT&E. Test aircraft will be required to be in a production representative configuration prior to IOT&E at a user-specified location, currently anticipated to be Randolph AFB. Additionally, it is anticipated that DT&E of the GBTS Aircrew Training Devices (including simulators) could take place at a contractor facility prior to delivery to the IOT&E location where final installation and acceptance testing would take place prior to IOT&E events.

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