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T-x program

The meaning of «t-x program»

The T-X program is a United States Air Force development and acquisition program for a new two-seat jet trainer to replace the Northrop T-38 Talon. On 27 September 2018, the US Air Force selected the Boeing/Saab T-X entry to become its trainer aircraft.[1] The new aircraft was given the designation and name "T-7 Red Hawk" in September 2019.[2] The Air Force's initial plan is to purchase 351 T-7s, and has an option to purchase up to 475.

The USAF's Air Education and Training Command (AETC) began developing the requirements for a replacement for the Northrop T-38 Talon as early as 2003. The average age of the T-38 fleet is over 50 years, and a fatigue failure in 2008 killed the two-person crew of a T-38C. Originally, the replacement trainer was expected to enter service around 2020, but the Air Force advanced the target date to 2017.[3][4][5] In the Fiscal 2013 budget proposal, the USAF suggested delaying the initial operating capability to FY2020 with the contract award not expected before FY2016.[6] Shrinking budgets and the need to fund higher priority modernization projects pushed the full implementation of the yet-to-be-selected T-X aircraft to "fiscal year 2023 or 2024". Although the program was left out of the FY 2014 budget entirely, the service still viewed the trainer as a priority.[7]

In February 2013, there was an expectation that the program might succumb to budget pressures in the USAF.[8] In May 2013, the T-X industry day was postponed "until further notice" due to the fiscal climate.[9] In December 2013 the head of the program said there were no plans for 2014 or 2015, but that he would speak to the chief of staff about the program either in February 2014 or later.[10]

On 20 March 2015, the US Air Force released the T-X program requirements.[11] On 30 December 2016, the US Air Force released a formal request for proposals. The request includes 350 aircraft and initial operational capability by 2024. [12] On 27 September 2018, the U.S. Air Force officially selected the Boeing T-X entry as its new advanced jet trainer to replace the T-38.[13][14]

One of the driving requirements for the new trainer will be to help prepare pilots for the increased complexity in some areas, particularly information management, that are a part of fifth generation jet fighters like the F-22 Raptor and the F-35 Lightning II. The Air Force first viewed this as unnecessary and costly, but industry analysis showed it to be cheaper in the long run.[15] The aircraft and simulation system will have to fulfill several basic training roles; basic aircraft control, airmanship, formation, instrument and navigation, advanced air-to-air, advanced air-to-ground, and advanced crew/cockpit resource management. Furthermore, there are five advanced training roles that the system is expected to fulfill; sustained high-G operations at 6.5–7.5g,[15] aerial refueling, night vision imaging systems operations, air-to-air intercepts, and data-link operations. The 2009 Request For Information (RFI) mentions that some tasks, such as aerial refueling, may be performed in the simulator and not on the aircraft itself.[16] Aircraft availability is to be 80%, but not higher, as that would drive cost too high. Program requirements focus on life-cycle costs rather than just purchase price.[15]

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