Boeing wins $9.2 billion contract for new Air Force training jet

Air Force trainer plane T-38 Talon

Boeing and Saab (saabf) have won an enormous contract with the U.S. Air Force, worth as much as $9.2 billion.

In addition to T-X fighter and bomber training aircraft, Boeing will supply the Air Force with simulators and associated ground equipment.

The end-of-the-year contract rush for the US Defense Department has been good to Boeing.

For Boeing's Arlington, Virginia, based defense business, the award caps off a stunning winning streak. The defense division accounted for 23 percent of sales past year, down from 50 percent in 2010.

The Air Force took a number of steps ahead of the T-X program to boost competition and buy down risk, service acquisition officials told reporters September 27 at the Pentagon.

Boeing beat out Lockheed Martin and a Leonardo-CAE-Honeywell team to replace the USAF's ageing Northrop T-38 Talon trainers. CAFB will receive a new line of trainer jets to replace the almost 60-year-old T38. The T-X offered by Boeing is a new aircraft based on a design perfected for the Air Forces' requirement.

The Air Force has obligated $33.6 million in fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds at the time of award.

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That strategy has proved costly so far on the KC-46, with Boeing racking up cost overruns totaling $3.4 billion to date.

The Boeing T-X at its official unveiling in 2016.

Overseas orders could boost sales of next-generation training jets well beyond $20 billion over the next decade, according to a market analysis by the Virginia-based Teal Group. "We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century".

The Air Force's original cost estimate for the T-X program was $19.7 billion.

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.

General Arnold Bunch of the office of the assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition said that "two-third of what we train for the fighters in the fourth and the fifth gen we actually can't do in the T-38". There's an option to raise the purchase to up to 475 jets and 120 simulators.

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