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AF clarifies T-X trainer requirements for industry

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jose R. Davis
  • Air Education and Training Command Public Affairs

As part of ongoing and open dialogue to procure the most affordable and capable advanced pilot training aircraft to replace the T-38, the Air Force responded today to more than 120 questions posed by industry.

Responding to industry feedback, the service clarified T-X performance requirements published in March on the Federal Business Opportunities Web page.

The T-X requirements released in March identified three key performance characteristics for the advanced pilot training mission: sustained G, simulator visual acuity and performance, and aircraft sustainment.

Among the performance requirement clarifications published today is a clearer intent of the specific parameters for the sustained G requirement, which remains unchanged at a minimum “threshold” requirement of 6.5Gs and the desired “objective” requirement of 7.5 Gs. Accompanied by the other T-X requirements, this offers the necessary performance capabilities to train Air Force pilots well into the future.

In vendor feedback to the March release, industry requested a more detailed description of the maneuver itself and the associated parameters, such as permissible altitude and airspeed loss. In response, today’s clarification details a specific maneuver to help provide operational context to the sustained G requirement.

The T-X must maintain the required load factor for a minimum of 140 degrees in a descending 180-degree turn. Initiated at or above 15,000 feet pressure altitude, at or below 0.9 Mach, and at or above 80 percent fuel weight, the aircraft’s flight path angle during this maneuver can be no lower than 15 degrees nose low while losing no more than 2,000 feet of vertical altitude and 10 percent of the initial airspeed.

“It is imperative that we procure an advanced trainer capable of enabling our future pilots to safely and effectively transition into high-performance fighter aircraft,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the director of plans, programs and requirements at AETC. “The T-X threshold and objective requirements will enable the T-X to close the ever-widening gap between T-38 performance and that of aircraft such as the F-22 and F-35.”

Air Force officials hosted a pre-solicitation conference in May for industry representatives interested in serving as prime contractors on the T-X advanced pilot training family of systems. The Air Force is making a concerted effort to maintain open dialogue with industry to allow for clearer understanding of the cost impact of certain performance characteristics as part of Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James’ Bending the Cost Curve initiative.

The T-X is projected to replace the T-38 Talon in Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training and Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals, beginning in the 2023 timeframe. The Air Force plans to finalize the T-X acquisition strategy later this year.

The complete list of clarifications to T-X requirements can be found on the Federal Business Opportunities Web page.
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