The U.S. Air Force Program Executive Officer for Mobility has delayed issuance of the Request for Proposals (RFP) for the T-X advanced pilot training program by three months. The program office now expects the RFP to be released in late December 2016. The postponement follows completion of an internal review regarding the program’s remaining tasks, and is intended to ensure the release of a well-defined RFP.
The Air Force Materiel Command said that efforts to refine the language of the T-X RFP have included extensive dialogue with industry, and have taken longer than initially anticipated. The goal of refining the RFP language stems from the T-X acquisition’s status as a pilot program for the U.S. Air Force’s Bending the Cost Curve (BTCC) initiative. Announced in early 2015, the BTCC initiative aims to increase competition and reduce costs throughout the acquisition life-cycle.
In order to align the T-X production schedule with current Air Force strategic planning, Full Operational Capability has been postponed from FY32 to FY34. Initial Operational Capability remains scheduled for FY24.
The T-X effort involves acquisition of an advanced trainer to replace the Air Force fleet of more than 440 Northrop T-38C trainers. Preliminary plans call for the procurement of 350 aircraft. Four competitors have already announced plans to pursue the T-X contract. Boeing and Saab have teamed to propose a clean-sheet design for the T-X program, while Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems have partnered to bid a clean-sheet aircraft as well.
Variants of existing aircraft are the subject of the other T-X proposals that have emerged so far. Finmeccanica and Raytheon intend to propose the T-100, a version of Finmeccanica’s M-346 advanced trainer. Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) are proposing the T-50A, a version of KAI’s T-50 advanced trainer.
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