Boeing/Saab joint TX design wins Air Force's jet trainer competition

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The deal anticipates delivery of 351 aircraft, 46 associated training devices and other supplies and service, including initial spares, support equipment, sustainment and training. KAI fielded homogenous T-50A, a renovated version of the T-50 Golden Eagle used by the Korean air force.

The new sophisticated training system will help train fighter and bomber pilots of the Air Force for generations to come, and Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the Advanced Pilot Training Program.

Under the initial $813 million awarded yesterday, Boeing will deliver five initial aircraft and seven simulators to Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, by 2023.

"Today's announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team", Leanne Caret, chief executive of Boeing's defense unit, said in a statement. Earlier last week, the Air Force awarded a Boeing-Leonardo team the contract to build a replacement for the UH-1N Huey helicopter, edging out Sierra Nevada Corp. In a preview of today's announcement, Teal Group analyst Richard Aboulafia said the T-X was the focus of "the last undecided USA military aircraft competition for many years to come".

The USAF contract also ensures Boeing maintains a presence in military fast jets as its F-15 and F/A-18 Super Hornets are retired in the coming years. Boeing and Saab joined forces on a plane that looked kind of like an F/A-18.

This award from the Air Force comes after Boeing has had trouble delivering to the Air Force its new in-air refueling jet, the KC-46.

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An Air Force spokeswoman declined to comment.

The original Air Force cost estimate for the program was $19.7 billion for 351 new trainers. "We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century", Caret said in a statement.

The losing bidders included Lockheed Martin and Italy's Leonardo and, according to the Wall Street Journal, those companies are likely to appeal the decision.

Analysts had seen Lockheed as the favorite, as it was offering a relatively low-risk aircraft that's based on a trainer already in production, while Boeing put forth a clean-sheet design.

The Boeing T-X aircraft has one engine, twin tails, stadium seating, and an advanced cockpit with embedded training.

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