Boeing-Saab Jointly Wins USAF's Advanced Jet Trainer Contract

IndraStra Global

Boeing-Saab Jointly Wins USAF's Advanced Jet Trainer Contract

By IndraStra Global News Team

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Prototype 1 / Source: Boeing

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Prototype 1 (N381TX) / Source: Boeing

On September 27, 2018,  Boeing has won a new contract from the U.S. Air Force (USAF) worth US$ 9.2 billion to build advanced jet trainers, T-X. The original service cost estimate was US$ 19.7 billion, according to the deal announcement.

Reuters was first to report the deal on September 26, 2018, which Boeing later confirmed in a press release.

"Boeing and its risk-sharing partner Saab designed developed, and flight tested two all-new, purpose-built jets ― proving out the system’s design, repeatability in manufacturing and training capability."

On the other hand, Saab released a press statement on Thursday that an initial US$ 813 million contract awarded to Boeing will fund the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the first five aircraft and seven simulators. After that, the Air Force could buy the aircraft in two low-rate initial production lots, followed by at least eight lots of full-rate production, for a total of 10 lots. 

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Prototype 1 (N381TX) and 2 (N382TX) / Source: Boeing

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Prototype 1 (N381TX) and 2 (N382TX) / Source: Boeing

Under the new defense deal, Boeing will build 351 training aircraft and 120 ground-based training systems, including 46 simulators and associated ground equipment, for the Air Force through 2034. This "deal" is a so-called "indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity" contract and under the existing terms, USAF could potentially order as many as 475 planes and 120 simulators. The multi-billion dollar contract comes as the USAF moving towards the modernization of its fleet of bombers, fighters, tankers as well as nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Test Flight of Prototype 1 in December 2016 / Source: Boeing

Image Attribute: Boeing's T-X Test Flight of Prototype 1 (N381TX) in December 2016 / Source: Boeing

Earlier, in December 2016, Boeing-Saab's sleek GE-F404 powered T-X jet took to the skies over St. Louis on a 55-minute test flight with veteran test pilot Steve 'Bull' Schmidt at its controls. The inaugural flight validated key aspects of the single-engine jet and demonstrated the performance of the low-risk design.

The new trainer aircraft from Boeing will replace USAF's aging T-38C Talon trainers that have been in the operation since the 1960s. Boeing teamed up with Sweden's Saab AB to develop a new jet trainer for the competition, beating out Lockheed Martin-KAI and Leonardo DRS-CAE USA.

During the development, Boeing tried hard to keep the costs down, and that led to some innovations. Some composite parts are made whole in 3D printers. Assembly workers can prepare a cockpit canopy in eight days, a task that used to take six weeks, according to Boeing officials.

According to Boeing, more than 90 percent of Boeing’s offering in the T-X project will be made in America, supporting more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.

With reporting by Boeing's MediaRoom, Saab's Media Portal, and Reuters