Alabama Loses Air Force Training Jet Bid

Alabama Loses Air Force Training Jet Bid”

Additional purchase options on the $9.2 billion contract, first reported by Reuters, could allow the Air Force to buy as many as 475 of the jets and 120 simulators.

The branch has used its current training jet model for almost 60 years.

With hopes to win the lucrative project, KAI had formed a consortium with the US' Lockheed Martin to replace 350 units of the aging T-38 jets.

"This new aircraft will provide the advanced training capabilities we need to increase the lethality and effectiveness of future Air Force pilots", Wilson wrote.

Leanne Caret, president and CEO of Boeing Defence, Space & Security, said: "The announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team". Full delivery and deployment of the T-X is expected in 2034.

The USAF contract also ensures Boeing maintains a presence in military fast jets as its F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornets are retired in the coming years.

The USAF said all undergraduate pilot training bases would eventually transition from the T-38 to the T-X.

Boeing partnered with Sweden's Saab on the winning T-X bid, beating out several other top military contractors, including Lockheed Martin, whose aeronautics division is headquartered in Fort Worth.

The original service-cost estimate was $19.7 billion for 351 aircraft.

This follows a trend in both Air Force contracts and Boeing's recent string of significant successes in offering aircraft to the USA military as a whole.

Before the Air Force announcement, aviation analyst Richard Aboulafia described T-X as "the last undecided United States military aircraft competition for many years to come".

"Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program", she said in a statement.

In its bid, Lockheed had offered a modified version of its T-50 training jet manufactured in conjunction with Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd, while Italy's Leonardo DRS had offered the T-100, which is a modified version of the Italian aerospace company's M-346.

The Boeing-Saab consortium was known to have pitched their jet's strengths as well as aggressive price cut.

Saab said in a statement Thursday that an initial 813 million dollar contract awarded to Boeing will fund the engineering and manufacturing development of the first five aircraft and seven simulators.

Boeing management offered a clean-sheet design, went all-in and was so confident of a win that it put a photo of the two T-X flying prototypes on the cover of the company's 2017 annual report, released earlier this year.

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