Rob Weiss, a Lockheed Martin executive, has said the company could deliver training aircraft three years earlier than 2024 that would help the U.S. Air Force save $1 billion in training and maintenance costs over a six-year period, Defense One reported Thursday.
Marcus Weisgerber writes Weiss, executive vice president and general manager of advanced development programs and head of the Skunk Works division at Lockheed, said that the service branch should consider on-time or early aircraft delivery once it reviews bids for the $15 billion T-X trainer aircraft program.
Lockheed has teamed up with Korea Aerospace Industries to propose a modified version of the T-50 training jet for the T-X program that seeks to replace the military branch’s fleet of T-38 trainer planes, Weisberger reports.
“What we did see is that [an all-new plane] was going to take a whole lot longer to develop, to test, to certify and to field,” Weiss said.
Darryl Davis, president of Boeing’s Phantom Works division, told reporters that the Boeing-SAAB team’s T-X offering is already in the production phase, according to a report by Colin Clark for Breaking Defense.
A Northrop Grumman–BAE Systems team has proposed to develop a new aircraft, while the partnership between Raytheon and Leonardo-Finmeccanica has offered a version of an existing training jet, Clark reports.
Capt. Michael Hertzog, a spokesman for the Air Force, told Breaking Defense in an email the service branch expects the T-X program, also known as the Advanced Pilot Training initiative, to help address training gaps between fourth- and fifth-generation fighter jets.
The request for proposals for the T-X program is due in December, the report added.