The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a $9.2 billion contract for development of the new advanced pilot training system encompassing the T-X aircraft and an associated ground based training system (GBTS). The USAF plans to buy 351 aircraft, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment, according to official sources.

Intended to train fighter and bomber pilots for generations to come, T-X has been developed specifically to meet the requirements specified by the USAF. Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the Advanced Pilot Training Programme, with Saab a risk-sharing partner. The two companies have designed, developed and built two all-new, purpose-built aircraft, which have been flight-tested and used to prove the system design and ease of repeatable manufacturing.

"This selection allows our two companies to deliver on a commitment we jointly made nearly five years ago," commented Saab President and CEO, Håkan Buskhe. "It is a major accomplishment for our partnership with Boeing and our joint team, and I look forward to delivering the first trainer aircraft to the US Air Force."

The initial $813 million contract to Boeing covers the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the first five aircraft and seven simulators. Boeing is now clear to begin placing orders with its suppliers, including Saab. More than 90% of the offering will be made in America, supporting more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team," added President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, Leanne Caret. "It is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system centred on the unique requirements of the US Air Force. We expect T-X to be a franchise programme for much of this century."

The T-X Advanced Pilot Training solution for which the USAF has awarded a contract to Boeing and Saab will be 90% built in the US. (Photo: Boeing)

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