Boeing, Saab unveil proposal for US Air Force’s T-X trainer

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Boeing unveiled its T-X trainer jet made for the US Air Force’s (USAF) advanced pilot trainer competition during a rollout ceremony at the company’s factory in St. Louis, Missouri on Tuesday.

The twin-tailed, single-engine jet that looks like a hybrid of an F/A-18 Super Hornet and a SAAB Gripen was manufactured through a partnership between Boeing and Saab. 

The USAF is expected to acquire 350 T-X trainer jets that will replace the ageing Northrop Grumman T-38 Talon.

The jet is powered by a single General Electric F404 engine that is designed to meet USAF’s requirements, but not to exceed them as affordability is taken into consideration, according to Boeing Phantom Works president Darryl Davis.

Boeing, Saab unveil proposal for US Air Force’s T-X trainer

Boeing and Saab officials also revealed today that they have built two T-X prototypes, which will soon begin structural testing. The first aircraft, displayed during the rollout event, has already started ground tests, and will complete its first flight by the end of the year. The second aircraft was shown to reporters after the ceremony.

It is still unclear where the jets will be built, but the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program will be completed at Boeing’s St. Louis factory, according t Boeing officials.

The T-X has an all-digital glass cockpit which closely resembles that of the fifth-generation F-35s and F-22s. The aircraft also features an open architecture software that pushes data across the jet and its associated ground-based training systems for enhanced operation and maintenance. The jet features two hard points on each wing and one on the centerline fuselage to accommodate weapon stations, as well as a built-in space for an aerial refueling receptacle.

Boeing is the last of the four competing prime contractors in the T-X competition.