ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – In a rollout resembling a rock concert, Boeing on Tuesday morning unveiled the jet it hopes the U.S. Air Force will choose to replace its aging T-38 jet trainer.
Amidst the flashing lights and soaring video, Boeing Phatnomworks President Darryl Davis said of its version of the T-X, “It’s real. It’s ready and it’s the right choice for the United States Air Force.”
Boeing and its development partner Saab, are among four teams bidding to win the $11 billion contract to build the jet.
Davis says one thing that sets the twin-tail, single-engine, twin-seat jet apart is that Boeing and Saab started with a clean sheet of paper.
“It allowed us to bring all the innovation we’ve been working on for decades in the Boeing Company, into the design.”
Along with theater seating, which will allow the trainer to see over the trainee, Davis says the jet is easier and less expensive to maintain and adaptable to future needs.
“It’s the iPhone of airplanes,” he says. “So, when a new training app comes along, it’s really easy to upload that training app, verify the jet and you’re ready to fly.”
The Air Force is expected to choose which company will build the T-X by early 2018. It’s expected to order at least 350 of the jets.
Davis says the engineering, manufacturing and development programs are in St. Louis, but he’s not ready to say where, if Boeing wins the contract, the jets will be assembled.
“This really is about breaking the cost curve,” he says. “We gotta have the most affordable case to do it.”
Davis says he doesn’t know how many jobs could be involved.
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