AJT/T-X Advanced Combat Trainer program for USAF

Discussion in 'Military Aviation' started by gadeshi, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    This is a dedicated topic for the subject programme.
    Please post all the related info here.

    A stuff to start with:
    Boeing vision (a stealthified Yak-130 :) ):
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    Northrop-Grumman prototype (N-400NT):
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  3. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    And a real Boeing AJT prototype:

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  4. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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  5. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    And the rest about Boeing prototype:
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  6. Raj Malhotra

    Raj Malhotra Regular Member

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    I predict Boeing will win this competition.
     
  7. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Don-t forget LM and Koreans with theirs AT-50 and Alenia with its M-346 Master.
     
  8. Gessler

    Gessler Regular Member

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    Lockheed/KAI T-50A - (Golden Eagle)

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  9. G10

    G10 Regular Member

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    Where is hjt36
    Ok 30 characters.
     
  10. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    You can add it if you want to :)
     
  11. Gessler

    Gessler Regular Member

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    HJT-36 is an Intermediate-class (IJT) trainer. The T-X program aims for trainers in the AJT/LIFT category. A tier above HJT-36.
     
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  12. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Rolls-Royce teams up with BAE for USAF T-X trainer contract:
    http://www.airforce-technology.com/...ams-up-with-bae-for-usaf-t-x-trainer-contract
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    Rolls-Royce has joined BAE Systems' Hawk advanced jet training system (AJTS) team as an exclusive partner to compete for the US Air Force (USAF's) T-X trainer programme.

    Representing the fourth member of the Hawk AJTS team besides BAE, Northrop Grumman and L-3 Link Simulation & Training, Rolls-Royce will serve as the engine supplier, leading the support and integration of the Adour Mk951 engine on the aircraft.

    BAE Systems Hawk AJTS team vice president Robert Wood said that Rolls-Royce's propulsion expertise, combined with their lengthy relationship with the USAF, makes them ideal to integrate Adour Mk951 engine in the Hawk AJTS aircraft.

    "The selection of Rolls-Royce rounds out the Hawk AJTS team as we pursue the T-X program win," Wood added.

    Rolls-Royce Defense Customer Business senior vice president Tom Hartmann said that the Rolls-Royce Adour engine has demonstrated success with 8.6 million flying hours and 200 engines already in service within the U.S. Department of Defense, plus hundreds of others in service around the world.

    "The Hawk AJTS is the affordable, low-risk option, offering proven performance to the U.S. Air Force," Hartmann added.
     
  13. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    More LM/KAI AT-50 Golden Eagle info and photos:
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    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-rele...r-t-x-competition-takes-flight-300304012.html
    Lockheed Martin's Second T-50A Aircraft for T-X Competition Takes Flight:
    http://www.janes.com/article/60936/lockheed-martin-flies-first-t-50a-aimed-at-usaf-t-x-competition
    FORT WORTH, Texas, July 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Korea Aerospace Industries successfully completed the initial test flight of its second T-50A configured aircraft in Sacheon, South Korea. The T-50A is the company's aircraft offering in the U.S. Air Force's Advanced Pilot Training (APT) competition.

    "We now have two aircraft in flight test proving our upgrade, and we're nearing completion of our assembly and training operations center in Greenville, South Carolina," said Doug Batista, Lockheed Martin T-50A program manager. "We're on track to provide the U.S. Air Force with a production line and training capability on day one of contract award."
    Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries fly their second T-50A configured aircraft for the USAF T-X competition. With the production facility in Greenville, South Carolina nearing completion and two aircraft in flight test, the team is demonstrating the ability to provide the USAF a next generation training solution.
    The T-50A is low risk and ready now. It builds on the proven heritage of the T-50 with more than 100 T-50s flying today—100,000 flight hours and counting—and more than 1,000 pilots trained.

    The T-50A is the only offering that meets all APT requirements and can deliver those capabilities on schedule at the lowest risk to the customer. Lockheed Martin teams studied clean-sheet alternatives and determined they pose prohibitive risk to APT cost and schedule requirements. The T-50A delivers the performance and capabilities needed to prepare pilots to fly, fight and win with 5th Generation fighter aircraft.

    The T-50A was developed jointly by Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries. The accompanying T-50A Ground-Based Training System features innovative technologies that deliver an immersive, synchronized ground-based training platform.

    Lockheed Martin completed the initial flight test of its first T-50A configured aircraft on June 2, 2016.
    http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/news/press-releases/2016/june/T50AFirstFlight.html
    Key Points




      • Lockheed Martin has completed an initial test flight of a modernised T-50A
      • The aircraft was developed jointly with Korean Aerospace Industries for USAF's T-X trainer programme
    Lockheed Martin completed a first test flight of a modernised T-50A that it developed jointly with Korea Aerospace Industries for US Air Force's (USAF's) T-X trainer programme, the company announced on 2 June.

    The T-50A is the company's aircraft offering in the USAF's competition to replace the ageing Northrop T-38 Talon. The T-50A configuration is a block upgrade of the existing T-50 design. Changes include aerial refuelling capability, embedded training, open system architecture, and a fifth-generation cockpit, company officials have said. Lockheed Martin plans to build the T-50A for the USAF and for potential international customers at its Greenville, South Carolina, facility. Major components of the aircraft like the wings, fuselage, and tail will be assembled in South Korea and shipped to South Carolina for final assembly.

    "The aircraft in its new configuration with the [fifth-generation] cockpit and other upgrades performed flawlessly," Mark Ward, Lockheed Martin T-50A lead test pilot, said after his flight in Sacheon, South Korea. "I have no doubt this aircraft will close the gap which currently exists between the trainer fleet and [fifth-generation] fighters."

    The USAF in March announced a delay to its planned opening of the T-X competition by three months in order to further refine the request for proposals (RfP). The programme office anticipates an RfP release in late December 2016. As a result, full operational capability (FOC) was delayed by two years until 2034. Initial operational capability (IOC) remained unchanged at 2024.

    At least three industry teams are expected to compete for the contract. Raytheon in February announced plans to join Finmeccanica and CAE to offer the T-100. Northrop Grumman and a Boeing/Saab team have said, separately, that they will offer new designs for the competition.

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    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  14. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    M-346 Master (Italized Yak-130 :) ) to participate in T-X competition:
    http://www.leonardocompany.com/-/general-dynamics-alenia-for-us-air-force-t-x-triner-competition
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    The General Dynamics-led team leverages proven jet trainer aircraft and ground-based training systems and complex systems integration expertise for a cost-effective, off-the-shelf system for the U.S. Air Force.

    FALLS CHURCH, Va. - General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, announced today the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) to join forces and compete for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X trainer program, which will replace aging T-38 trainer jets and related training systems. The agreement leverages General Dynamics’ legacy of successfully integrating and delivering large, complex systems to the U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy and other government customers with Alenia Aermacchi’s proven jet training aircraft and demonstrated manufacturing capability. General Dynamics C4 Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, will serve as the prime contractor.

    Together, the team will offer a fully integrated advanced pilot training system built around the Alenia Aermacchi T-100, a market variant of the company’s established M-346 military aircraft trainer. As the prime contractor, General Dynamics will bring its proven experience in systems integration and sub- contract management to deliver an Advanced Pilot Training (APT) Family of Systems (FoS) consisting of aircraft, flight simulation devices, multi-media classrooms and logistics support. The T-100 Integrated Training System will incorporate any unique U.S. Air Force requirements and will be built in the United States with an emphasis on United States-made components and equipment.

    Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 is an advanced jet trainer that is currently training the world’s air forces to operate fourth and fifth generation air-combat aircraft. Currently in production for international customers including the Israeli, Italian and Singaporean Air Forces, the M-346 has also been selected by the United Arab Emirates as their advanced aircraft trainer.

    “The combined strengths of General Dynamics and Alenia Aermacchi’s T-100 will deliver a best-in-class training system ensuring that the U.S. Air Force’s next generation of fighter pilots are fully prepared to defend the nation and our allies, regardless of the mission,” said Jerry DeMuro, executive vice president of Information Systems and Technology for General Dynamics. “Leveraging aircraft and systems that are already proven internationally saves significant development time and cost for the Air Force and includes an unprecedented level of safety for the trainees as they train and fly.”

    Giuseppe Giordo, chief executive officer for Alenia Aermacchi said, “This LOI brings together the world’s best and most efficient pilot training system in the T-100 and a leading U.S. prime defense contractor in General Dynamics. The General Dynamics and Alenia Aermacchi team will present the most technologically advanced and affordable training solution for the U.S. Air Force.”

    General Dynamics is a market leader in business aviation, land and maritime combat vehicles and systems and mission critical information systems and technology. More information about General Dynamics is available at www.gd.com.

    Alenia Aermacchi, a Finmeccanica company, is an aircraft manufacturer renowned in the global defense and commercial markets for its innovation and ability to design, build, integrate and support complex systems. Alenia Aermacchi’s portfolio includes internationally successful products such as the M-346, the only aircraft designed to meet the training needs of pilots of 4th and 5th generation combat aircraft, and the C-27J tactical airlifter. Alenia Aermacchi plays a key role in world-class programs such as the Eurofighter Typhoon, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the Neuron Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle demonstrator. Alenia Aermacchi also designs and builds advanced aero-structures for state of the art airliners including the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the latest Bombardier C-Series aircraft. Additional information about the company is available at http://www.aleniaaermacchi.it and http://www.aleniana.com/

    Compliance with the “sustained-G” requirement and a possible new U.S. partner make Alenia Aermacchi confident they can win the T-X race.
    http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/...in-u-s-air-force-t-x-advanced-trainer-program
    The Alenia Aermacchi M-346 “Master” is a dual-engine LIFT (Lead-In to Fighter Trainer) jet for the latest stage of a fighter pilot training which aims to develop the information management and aircraft handling skills of future pilots before they are assigned to the OCUs (Operational Conversion Units).

    The aircraft, selected by Italy, Poland, Israel and Singapore for advanced pre-operative training, represents the air segment of an integrated training system (ITS) that includes ground-based facilities, academics, simulators, and mission planning and debriefing stations developed to fill the gap between the flight schools and the operational unit and to prepare the pilots to fly and operate Gen. 4th and 5th multirole aircraft in high-threat/high performance environments.
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    Along with fast jet performance that this author experienced in first person the advanced trainer couples cutting-edge human-machine interface with modern systems and sensors, including a full digital cockpit, HOTAS (Hands On Throttle And Stick) commands, carefree handling, VCI (Vocal Control Inputs), a Helmet Mounted Display as well as the ability to simulate the flight characteristics of other aircraft and to replicate a wide array of sensors and weapons as if these were actually installed on the aircraft: in short, it with all the bells and whistles pilots can find in the Eurofighter Typhoon or the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
    The aircraft is considered one of the best candidates to replace the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of aging Northrop T-38 Talon trainers.
    [Read also: We have flown one of the world’s most advanced jet trainers: the M-346 of the Italian Air Force]
    Still, the fate of the T-100, the M-346 proposal for the T-X program has been unclear since General Dynamics announced it was withdrawing itself as the prime contractor for the bid in March. Furthermore, there were doubts the aircraft could be compliant to the sustained g performance requirement included in the initial RFI (Request For Information), issued by the Air Force.
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    Nevertheless, it looks like both finding the partner and comply with the challenging requirement are no longer a problem: the company said Aviation Week that talks are in progress with a new partner that will be announced “very soon” whereas, dealing with the sustained g requirement, Alenia Aermacchi Chief Test Pilot Enrico Scarabotto said that the M-346 recently proved to be compliant with the latest amendment of the RFI, issued on Jul. 10.

    The maneuver is described here (pag. 7):

    The sustained G maneuver shall be flown with a standard configuration (i.e., clean with no external stores), at or above 80% fuel weight (relative to maximum fuel capacity), steady state flight, and standard day conditions. The maneuver will begin in level flight (flight path angle no lower than zero and no higher than two degrees nose high), wings level (+/‐ 5 degrees of bank), at or above 15,000 feet pressure altitude, and at or below 0.9M. From this point, the pilot shall immediately initiate bank and back pressure to achieve the sustained G. The sustained G must be maintained for a minimum of 140 continuous degrees. The pilot may begin reducing the load factor and rolling out after a minimum of 140 degrees in order to roll out at approximately 180 degrees of turn.

    The flight path angle shall be no lower than 15 degrees nose low and the aircraft shall descend to no lower than 13,000 feet pressure altitude during any portion of the entire 180‐degree maneuver. There is no power setting specified for this maneuver. The aircraft may lose no more than 10% of the initial airspeed during the 180‐degree maneuver. There are no specified degrees of turn for roll in or roll out. “Approximately 180 degrees of turn” is meant to describe a recognizable maneuver without mandating exactly 180 degrees. There is no specified length of time for the 140‐degree portion of the maneuver or for the 180‐degree maneuver as a whole.

    Minimum acceptable load factor will be 6.5 sustained for a minimum of 140 degrees. The lowest load factor registered during the 140‐degree period will establish sustained G for the maneuver. For example, if the aircraft maintains 7.2Gs for less than 140 degrees and then drops to 6.9Gs by the end of the 140‐degree period, 6.9Gs will be used as the maximum sustained G. There is no requirement to exceed 7.5Gs.
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  15. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Raytheon, Italy's Finmeccanica Unveil Proposal for T-X Trainer:
    http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/...tm_medium=internal&utm_source=related-article

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    Raytheon threw its hat in the ring for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X jet trainer replacement program by announcing a partnership with Italy’s Finmeccanica group to offer a variant of the twin-engine Alenia Aermacchi M-346 Master for the requirement. Finmeccanica had previously signed a letter of intent with General Dynamics to offer the variant, designated the T-100.

    At a February 22 press conference in Washington, D.C., Raytheon introduced a T-X industry team that includes Finmeccanica, engine manufacturer Honeywell and training system provider CAE. They will likely compete against three other teams. Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin confirmed that it will offer a new variant of the Korea Aerospace Industries’ single-engine T-50 Golden Eagle, which it would build in Greenville, S.C. The partnership of Boeing and Saab and a team led by Northrop Grumman have announced they will offer clean-sheet designs.

    Honeywell will supply F124 turbofan engines for the proposal through its International Turbine Engine Company (ITEC) joint venture with Taiwan. CAE will provide a simulation-based training systems for the T-100, which would serve as a lead-in trainer for fourth- and fifth-generation fighters. The M-346 variant would be assembled in the U.S., executives said, though they did not identify a location.

    The air forces of Italy, Singapore and Israel operate the M-346. “The T-100 offers dynamic kinetic performance, while also delivering an embedded, tactical training system that immerses pilots in realistic mission scenarios,” said Filippo Bagnato, Finmeccanica Aircraft managing director. “The M-346, the basis for the T-100, is already operational and preparing pilots around the world for the challenges of today’s complex fighter platforms.”

    Industry teams expect the USAF will issue a request for proposals later this year for the T-X requirement of 350 training jets to replace the current Northrop T-38 Talon.

    “The success of our nation's future pilots depends on a comprehensive trainer to prepare them to take full advantage of the capabilities unique to advanced fourth and fifth generation fighters,” declared Rick Yuse, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems president. “Our affordable, low-risk, open-systems solution combines a proven aircraft with a suite of fully integrated training technologies. Our team is best positioned to…meet the United States Air Force’s mission requirements.”

    February 23, 2016, 10:08 AM

    Raytheon offers American-made T-100 for T-X:
    http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/...tm_medium=internal&utm_source=related-article

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    Raytheon has officially jumped into the US Air Force's T-X race, offering the Italian Finmeccanica-Alenia Aermacchi M-346-based T-100 with twin Honeywell F124 turbofan engines and training supported from CAE.

    At an announcement in Washington DC on 22 February, the world's third-largest military contractor confirmed that air force pilots have already trialled the “Master” in Italy to verify that the current design meets stringent, high-g performance criteria associated with T-X.

    Once allied with General Dynamics, the T-100 will now compete against the Lockheed Martin/Korea Aerospace Industries T-50A and clean-sheet alternatives proposed by Boeing/Saab and Northrop Grumman/BAS Systems for US Air Education and Training Command’s procurement of 350 high-performance training jets to replace the 48-year-old Northrop T-38 Talon.

    Once outfitted with wide-screen avionics displays and a boom refuelling mechanism, company officials expect the T-100 to meet all of the air force’s requirements, but with less cost and schedule risk than the completely new designs pursued by Boeing and Northrop.

    Those officials also stressed that a large portion of the aircraft will be made in America, reflective some anxiety about the M-346's Italian origin.

    “Our offering will be built, tested and fielded in the United States,” says Roy Azevedo, VP of Raytheon’s airborne systems division.

    Azevedo says his team will deliver a complete package that includes the aircraft, ground-based training system and courseware, and it will blend live, virtual and constructive (LVC) elements into a single, high-end training environment.

    Raytheon

    Alenia Aermacchi chief executive Filippo Bagnato says the T-100 is not a prototype and enters the race as a mature alternative to the T-50A and clean-sheet designs, and it is already supporting the training needs of fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jet pilots.

    Bagnato says the M-346 strikes the right balance between the needs of pilots preparing to fly the highly manoeuvrable Eurofighter Typhoon and the more sophisticated Lockheed F-35.

    There are currently three possible cockpit configurations under consideration including an evolutionary approach from the current design to a completely new avionics display. The T-50A, by comparison, will have a cockpit based on the F-35 Lightning II.

    For refuelling, there are three potential options for centreline boom refuelling from the USAF-operated KC-135, KC-10 and future KC-46A.

    Bagnato says this would likely be delivered as an adaptor or modification kit since the current set of requirements don’t call for refuelling capabilities as a baseline standard.

    Raytheon will announce a location where the aircraft will be built after a "rigorous" study, but well before the request for proposals (RFP) is issued later this year.

    “We want to have those decisions made well before we have to make a final proposal so the government has a time-certain, cost-certain and performance-certain solution,” says Hvizd.

    The air force has earmarked $1.6 billion for T-X research and development with $932 million allocated between fiscal years 2017-2021. The total programme is worth upwards of $9 billion.

    When accounting for the Phoenix-built engine and excluding the proposed large area display, Bagnato says the M-346 already contains approximately 50% American content. “Before beginning to work with Raytheon, the American content of the M346 is not far from 50%,” he says.

    James Drew/Flight International

    CAE says its T-X operations will be run through its American division in Tampa, Florida. CAE group president Gene Colabatistto says the company is now well positioned for T-X, having joining Raytheon.

    Colabatistto pointed to Raytheon's experience with the T-1 Jayhawk and USAF Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) programme, which resulted in the T-6 Texan II.

    “We really couldn’t be happier where we ended up," he says. "I think the platform itself is very, very competitive, as we did several years ago before people started talking about clean-sheet designs.”

    The air force will compete its T-X requirement through 2017 before downselecting a single supplier, and a spokesman says both the clean-sheet proposals and those based on existing designs will be fairly assessed.
     
  16. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Scorpion will not be proposed for USAF T-X competition
    https://www.flightglobal.com/news/a...ot-be-proposed-for-usaf-t-x-competiti-417108/
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    Textron AirLand’s Scorpion in its current form has been ruled out as a competitor for the US Air Force’s T-X next-generation trainer programme to replace the Northrop T-38, according to the joint venture’s president Bill Anderson.

    The requirements template for T-X has evolved considerably ahead of an anticipated competition in 2017, and Textron’s engineering analysis suggests the air force now wants a high-performance fly-by-wire trainer with top tier handling qualities, and not a low-cost advanced jet trainer requiring little development.

    “From the engineering analysis we have done, this looks like a very complex, high-performance aircraft that in our estimation is going to be pretty expensive,” says Anderson. “Scorpion as-is is not a competitor for T-X.”

    According to a July statement from the USAF's Air Education and Training Command, the service wants an aircraft capable of 7.5g turns “while losing no more than 2,000ft of vertical altitude and 10% of the initial airspeed”.

    The air force is mostly interested in an aircraft that will prepare its pilots to operate fifth-generation fighters such as the Lockheed F-22 and F-35 – but also sixth-generation aircraft to be introduced in the 2030s, as T-X could be in service for up to 50 years.

    Anderson says T-X appears to need “Level 1 handling qualities” and probably fly-by-wire controls to achieve the draft performance requirements, and probably also needs to be a supersonic aircraft – although that is not presently an objective.

    Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are each pursuing T-X with clean sheet designs, and flying prototypes are already being assembled.

    Anderson says Textron is still involved in the air force’s industry engagement process, but has not decided whether to compete.

    “We continue to look at it; we continue to provide the air force feedback and the company has made no decisions at all on it,” he says. “We are interested, obviously, because it’s a big programme, but we continue to watch the programme evolve.

    “We’ve got the Scorpion ISR/strike attack airplane and we’re really concentrating on getting that sold.”
     
  17. Gessler

    Gessler Regular Member

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    The M346 and the Grumman N400NT are my favorites for this competition. Let's see which one wins. :)
     
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  18. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    My personal favourite is AT-50 Golden Eagle :)

    Meet the Jet Lockheed Martin Wants to Replace the T-38 With:
    http://airsoc.com/articles/view/id/...tm_medium=internal&utm_source=related-article
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    The Northrop T-38 Talon is one of the oldest aircraft still serving in the United States Air Force, functioning as an advanced jet trainer for future fighter pilots who’ll eventually make their way to the cockpit of an F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-15 Eagle, or F-22 Raptor. The Talon gives trainee pilots a feel for what it’s like to fly and fight in a supersonic aircraft that can mimic the handling characteristics of current 4th generation fighters to a fair degree. But with the impending advent of the Air Force’s brand new F-35A Lightning II, and the upcoming F-X Next Generation Tactical Air fighter, which will supersede the F-22 and F-15, it’s time for a new lead-in trainer. One that’s better suited to adapting future fighter pilots to the ultra-modern cockpits of the next level of fighter aviation.

    Well, that, and the Talon is just plain old. Having taken to the skies for the first time in early 1959, and with full-rate production ceasing in 1972, the T-38 is due to be retired and replaced in the coming years with an aircraft that’ll be able to serve the needs of the Air Force going into 2020 and beyond. Though the formal program to replace the aging T-38 hasn’t yet started, Lockheed Martin has already taken the initiative to showcase its proposal for a prospective T-X trainer.

    Working closely with Korea Aerospace Industries to redevelop their FA-50 Golden Eagle (which Lockheed Martin helped fund back in the 1990s), they came up with the T-50A. The Golden Eagle was actually built from the ground up as a supersonic light fighter, similar to the T-38’s fighter variant, the F-5 Freedom Fighter/Tiger II. Modifications that’ll meet T-X specifications include a new dorsal refueling receptacle, designed to mate with the typical boom/probe setup used by Air Force fighters, and a state-of-the-art glass cockpit similar to the one found in the F-35 Lightning II, featuring a large area display (LAD). The T-50A will also be equipped with the FA-50’s integrated EW (electronic warfare) suite, but will likely lack the 20mm .

    The aircraft which eventually wins the T-X contract could also very well be used for the Air Force’s unique F-22 Raptor air combat training program as adversary “Red Air” fighters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
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  19. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    Is Korea's New Fighter Jet Lockheed Martin's Best Hope?
    http://www.fool.com/investing/gener...new-fighter-jet-lockheed-martins-best-ho.aspx
    After two high-profile -- and high-net-worth -- contract losses, Lockheed Martin could sorely use a win. Will the T-X trainer contract be that win?

    [​IMG]

    Rich Smith
    (TMFDitty)
    Dec 31, 2015 at 1:13PM
    2015 brought a lot of disappointment to Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) shareholders.

    In quick succession, Lockheed lost a potential umpteen-billion-dollar opportunity to build the Army's next Humvee (to Oshkosh). One month later, the Air Force awarded the even bigger Long Range Strike Bomber contract to rival Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC). Most recently, even Lockheed Martin's marquee program to build F-35 stealth fighter jets for the U.S. Air Force and Navy has come into question, as both services begin walking back expectationsabout the number of aircraft each will buy.

    All of which is to say: The award for the new T-X trainer jet competition can't come soon enough for Lockheed.

    What exactly is T-X?As we outlined earlier this year, T-X is the U.S. Air Force's program to develop and build a new aircraft to replace the venerable Northrop T-38 Talon training jet.


    The T-38 has served the U.S. military faithfully for more than 50 years, and helped to train literal generations of fighter pilots. But in the age of fifth-generation stealth technology, it's starting to look like something of a dinosaur. In planning to replace it, the Air Force is looking for a new training jet that more closely approximates the flying characteristics of a typical fifth-generation stealth fighter jet.

    And here's a clue to who's favored to win T-X: Currently, the only company in the U.S. fielding operational fifth-gen fighter jets is... Lockheed Martin.

    Meet the competitionThat's not to say Lockheed Martin has no competition in this race. Everyone from Boeing toTextron to BAE Systems -- to Northrop Grumman itself, builder of the incumbent T-38 -- is angling to win T-X. Textron, BAE, and Northrop are all said to be going it alone in this competition. Textron will offer its self-funded Scorpion jet in the role of next-gen trainer. BAE will offer up its Hawk trainer. Northrop, which had been expected to pair up, will instead offer a totally new "clean sheet" design.

    Boeing is teaming with Saab, possibly offering a variant of the latter's JAS 39 Gripen as the next T-X. General Dynamics, initially paired with Italy's Alenia Aermacchi, has dropped out. But Alenia is forging ahead and offering a variant of its M-346 Master aircraft.

    For its part, Lockheed is joining forces with its longtime partner, Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), and offering a variant of their jointly developed T-50 Golden Eagle training jet.

    Meet the T-X demonstratorLast month, Lockheed and partner KAI offered investors a glimpse at their entry. As expected, the so-called "T-X demonstrator aircraft" is an adaptation of the companies' jointly developed T-50. If there's anything surprising about the new aircraft, though, it's that it doesn't play as closely to Lockheed's strengths as one might expect from the builder of the F-35 stealth fighter jet.

    For example, the companies say they've designed T-50 T-X to meet the Air Force's "requirement for compatibility" with the F-35. To this end, the proffered trainer boasts features such as integrated training systems, a digital flight controls, and equipment for in-flight refueling.

    As far as we know, however, the T-50 does not include any obvious "stealth" characteristics. Nor does it incorporate an ability to vertically take off and land, as does the Marine variant of Lockheed's F-35, for example. It doesn't even closely mimic the shapes of the F-35 or the more advanced stealth F-22 Raptor, inasmuch as the T-50 features only one vertical stabilizer, versus two on each of the fifth-gen jets.

    Indeed, it almost looks like Lockheed is abdicating the advantage it holds as the manufacturer of the airplane that the T-50 is supposed to train pilots to fly -- by doing very little indeed to try to "twin" the two aircraft.

    What it means to investorsThe initial valuation on this contract is said to be about $8.4 billion for 350 T-X aircraft. But ultimately, experts estimate as many as 1,000 T-X trainers will be sold, and maintenance and upgrades will grow the value even more over time. (As high as $50 billion? Perhaps).

    Whatever the ultimate cost, this is obviously a valuable contract, and not one Lockheed should assume is its for the taking. After all, at an estimated cost of $26 million, analysts predict Lockheed's offering will be one of the most expensive -- if not the most expensive -- T-X candidates. BAE's Hawk, in contrast, is expected to come in as much as 20% cheaper. And Textron's Scorpion is aiming to be cheapest of them all, with a sticker price below $20 million.

    Based on those numbers, I'm not 100% confident of going out on a limb and predicting Lockheed will lose this third major contract to a rival. But would I be surprised to see Lockheed blow it, and lose out to a lower-priced rival?

    No, I would not be.

    [​IMG]

    Rich Smith does not own shares of, nor is he short, any company named above. You can find him on Motley Fool CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 308 out of more than 75,000 rated members.

    The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
     
  20. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    The Boeing-Saab trainer looks like a winner.
     
  21. gadeshi

    gadeshi Senior Member Senior Member

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    I would rather bet for AT-50 as the most capable option.
     

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