Brian Kelly (@brpkelly)

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.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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Comments (2)
  1. The DOD should ban Boeing from any new programs. Even Air Force/Navy/Marine recruits that will fly these things deserve some measure of safety. Boeing has long engaged in quality assurance fraud, which renders designed in safety margins unreliable at best. Plus, why buy a trainer from a company that has lost all new generation fighter contracts? The competition should be limited to the prime contractors of current generation fighters whose airplanes they will be used to train pilots for. Additionally, why is this program even needed? It is not needed. Train pilots on old Boeing garbage fighters that are beyond their prime and being replaced by the F-22 and F-35. In those planes, and in ground simulators, you can gain enough confidence in a pilot to risk the cost of an F-22 or F-35 on their new piloting skills. Every taxpayer should have a problem with this obviously unneeded program.

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