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Paris Air Show 2017: Competitors prepare for T-X data deadline

19 June 2017

The three main contenders for the US Air Force's (USAF's) fighter trainer replacement programme (T-X) are collating and preparing all of their flight data ahead of the submission deadline that is due in the coming days.

Developed with Saab, the BTX will be built in St Louis should Boeing be selected. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)Developed with Saab, the BTX will be built in St Louis should Boeing be selected. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Boeing, Leonardo DRS, and Lockheed Martin have each been briefing their T-X products at the Paris Air Show, days before the flight test data on the BTX, T-100, and T-50A respectively must be handed into the USAF on 28 June.

"The significance of the 28 June date is that it effectively means 'pens down' to all the competitors," the head of Aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho told Jane's on 19 June, adding, "That is the final day in which the competitors can offer data on their aircraft, as any more flying after that is irrelevant." Once the USAF has all of the data collected, it will weigh up the offerings against its criteria ahead of a source selection before the end of the year. There will be no 'fly-off' between the competitors, with the selection being made on the basis of the data only. The winner will then be contracted to build five engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) aircraft.

Based on the M-346, the T-100 is billed by Leonardo as being the cheapest and least risky option for the US Air Force. Source: LeonardoBased on the M-346, the T-100 is billed by Leonardo as being the cheapest and least risky option for the US Air Force. Source: Leonardo

As the first to formally submit its proposals in March, Boeing briefed reporters ahead of the Paris Air Show at its St Louis facility on its plans for the clean-sheet BTX design the company has developed with Saab. BTX is a twin-seat single-engined platform that features a 'glass' cockpit modelled to resemble that of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), and an open systems architecture. It incorporates elements from both the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Saab Gripen combat aircraft. There are currently two aircraft (BTX1 and BTX2) flying out of St Louis, Missouri, from where Boeing has said it will manufacture all the T-X aircraft should it be selected to do so.

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The T-50A is a T-X-specific derivative of the T-50 Golden eagle that Lockheed Martin has developed with KAI. (Lockheed Martin)The T-50A is a T-X-specific derivative of the T-50 Golden eagle that Lockheed Martin has developed with KAI. (Lockheed Martin)



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