At its annual media trip, Boeing presented its T-X solution for the US Air Force (USAF) trainer of the future. The company is very proud that it took only 36 month from the start of planning until the first flight. Boeing's main partner, responsible for the fuselage, is Saab.

All tests are done by industry, following the requirements and guideline book of the USAF. At the end, all test data has to be handed over to the USAF on 28 June 2017. Boeing built two of T-X demonstrators, BT-X1 and BT-X2, which are equal. These are more than just demonstrators, though, as they are series ready, Boeing pointed out. "They could be handed over tomorrow," one Boeing official said. If Boeing wins the tender, production will take place at Boeing's St. Louis, MI/USA facility, expected to support approximately 1,800 jobs in the region. Story here

The cockpit is reconfigurable and offers a growth capability. As to who will provide the cockpit, Boeing stayed mum, i.e. did not disclose any information. It is offering a great field of view for both seats, and can be used by small and large personnel. Another built-in option is air-refuelling. As part of the concept, the T-X can also go supersonic with its afterburner, which is not an USAF requirement. “Boeing is meeting all the requirements,” the official said. No other capabilities were disclosed.

Looking into the future, the T-X could be also the future trainer for the US Navy or other nations, as well as a light fighter. The aircraft has the possibility/growth capability of hard points, e.g. for sensors or weapons. These are no requirements stated by USAF, but gives industry better export chances. This is the first time in the US that  industry had to pay for design and production by themselves. There has not been an USAF order for the demonstrators this time, just requirements. In the end, 351 jets could be ordered, but Boeing thinks there is an opportunity for 2,000+ in the world.

Andre Forkert


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