Boeing and Saab successfully completed the first flight of the T-X jet, an advanced training aircraft designed to meet the requirements of the United States Air Force (USAF), on Tuesday (20) in St. Louis. The new aircraft, introduced in September, is proposed to replace the veteran T-38 Talon, used since 1961, for the training of new fighter pilots.
The first flight of the T-X lasted 55 minutes and was conducted by Boeing test pilots Steven Schmidt and USAF program chief Dan Draeger. “The cockpit is intuitive, roomy and adjustable, so everything is within easy reach,” Schmidt said after the test. “The aircraft has met all expectations, is well designed and offers superior handling characteristics”.
“I had a great overview throughout the flight of the instructor’s seat, which is crucial during the training,” added Draeger, who traveled in the rear seat.
According to a statement from the companies, the plane is ready to go into operation from 2024 onwards. The US government, however, has not yet decided on the purchase of the aircraft developed by Boeing in partnership with Saab, from Sweden. The contract, which provides for the acquisition of 350 aircraft, is valued at $ 11 billion.
The main competitor of the T-X in this dispute is the KAI T-50 Golden Eagle training jet, developed by Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) in partnership with Lockheed Martin. The T-50 has been flying with the South Korean air force since 2005, on training missions and as light fighter.
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) 20 de dezembro de 2016
Boeing started the T-X program in 2010 and three years later gained the company of Saab, which went on to collaborate on the development of the aircraft – the Swedish Air Force is also in search of a new advanced training jet.