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Boeing unveils T-X trainer contender

written by | September 14, 2016

T-X Dry Run Pre-Event_Darrell Davis_Media Kit Select Files_Static A/C Bldg 75_MCF16-0059 Series_RMS#302077_09/12/2016Boeing has unveiled its contender for the US Air Force’s T-X trainer program in a ceremony at St Louis on Tuesday.

Features of the aircraft, designed in partnership with Sweden’s Saab, include a single GE F404 engine, twin tails, what Boeing calls “stadium seating” and advanced avionics.

The first aircraft has already been undergoing ground testing and should fly before the end of the year, while a second T-X is in the advanced stages of assembly, Boeing revealed.


Boeing and Saab are one of four teamings competing for T-X, as well as Lockheed Martin with Korean Aerospace, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems, and Raytheon and Leonardo.

T-X initial operating capability is planned for 2024, with the USAF planning to acquire 350 T-X aircraft to replace its ageing Northrop T-38 Talon trainers. A final RFT is due for release by the end of this year, with selection of the winning design planned for 2017.

The T-X program may also have longer-term relevance for Australia. Included in the 2016 Defence White Paper’s Integrated Investment Program (IIP) document is a new $5 billion project to replace the RAAF’s Hawk lead-in fighter trainers.


The IIP details a requirement for “a new lead-in fighter training system to support those students who go on to complete the ADF’s fast jet pilot training.”

The IIP lists a timeframe of 2022-2033 and a budget of $4-5 billion.

Boeing T-X

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  • Ben


    What a nifty looking jet.

  • Craigy


    The aeroplane resembles the F104 forward of the intakes

  • Hayden Roberts


    i’m going for Boeing/Saab all the way! all the others are based on preexisting aircraft.

  • That Ron guy


    If you google image-search the 2-seat Saab Gripen, you can see a fair bit of commonality, notably with the air intakes & forward fuselage. The landing gear looks like it’s straight off the F-16, & the rear end was borrowed from the F-35A. All in all, it looks sexy with the bright lights shining on it but from other photos it does look a little clunky compared to the lightweight T-38’s it’s replacing. And Boeing does have a bit of a history with clunky planes. Anyone remember the X-32?

  • Hayden Roberts


    that was a flop!

  • Dan


    Is the scorpion in the mix?

  • Jason


    Really, you’re all judging the aircraft based on its looks? A bit superficial don’t you think?

    Why not consider the high installed thrust, the ‘stadium seating’ cockpit layout, the large control surfaces, modern production efficiencies, and growth potential…the things that actually matter to the USAF? Northrop Grumman will no doubt have similar advantages with its clean sheet (Scaled Composites) design, whereas Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have to adapt existing 10+ year old designs to a demanding requirement.

    Would be great to see an article in AA soon on the relative merits of the contenders now that they’re all out in the open, especially as there will possibly be an Australian angle to this in a decade or so.

  • Harry


    Jason, I agree.

    But the Northrop Gruman aircraft hasn’t been revealed yet. I can presume that we will be highly influenced by which other countries, especially the US, purchase which aircraft.. The aircraft seems good but it will eventually come down to cost… all three contenders’ aircraft, that have unveiled their aircraft, look pretty good so far.

  • Bill


    There are pictures of the Northrop aircraft getting around, it looks like a T-38/F-5 with a new fuselage. The wings, tail and undercarriage appear to be carried over from the previous aircraft.

    The Boeing/SAAB machine appears to be based on a SAAB concept design from a while ago, but with twin tail fins amongst other changes.

  • Hayden Roberts


    northrop is updating the goshawk

  • Hayden Roberts


    jason, I also agree
    does anyone know how the X-32 preformed?

  • paul


    Does it have AB?

  • Fabian


    Lockheeds martins jet looks pretty good. But this Jet is a sexy looking thing

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