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I/ITSEC 2016: Boeing T-X Solution ‘Ready to Fly’

Two Initial Aircraft Near First Flights

Boeing’s solution for the US Air Force’s T-X advanced jet fighter trainer aircraft requirement is nearing its first flight, according to company officials at I/ITSEC 2016 in Orlando this week.

Briefing journalists on 29 November, Tom Conard, Director, Global Sales and Marketing and T-X Programme Capture Team Leader for Boeing Defense, Space & Security, said: “The T1 aircraft is ready to fly and we are looking for the first flight in the immediate future. In fact, the flight crews are training for that first flight in the ground based training system (GBTS) right now. The T-2 aircraft will be ready to fly early next year – so we are right at the conclusion of this phase of the risk reduction programme.”

Boeing’s solution from almost the start of the process has been to propose a system crafted exactly in line with the requirement as it has developed, according to Conard – despite the fact that at one point the USAF said it required an off the shelf rather than a developmental aircraft. Seen by many observers as a high-risk approach to winning the largest trainer aircraft programme in living memory (or for some decades to come, for that matter) conventional wisdom now seems to be grudgingly admiring. One long-time observer of the programme told Mönch today that, “Boeing may yet be vodicated: the runes are pointing towards their offering gaining traction in the minds of Those Who Matter.”

The USAF requirement alone amounts to 351 aircraft, Conard confirmed. It is not simply an aircraft, of course the GBTS and all the support, maintenance and logistics the fleet will require make this a potentially huge win for the selected contractor. And Boeing is determined to be that selectee.

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