Military Capabilities

USAF looks to industry to take on Pacer Classic III upgrade to Talon jet trainers

13 December 2017
The USAF is undertaking an extensive refurbishment effort for its T-38 jet trainers in a bid to keep them flying through to about 2029. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The US Air Force (USAF) has issued a solicitation to industry regarding the ongoing Pacer Classic (PC) III upgrade programme for its Northrop T-38 Talon advanced jet trainer aircraft.

The request for information (RFI) posted on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website on 11 December calls for industry to outline how it might deliver and install aircraft structural modification kits for T-38C aircraft under the PC III Structural Retrofit Program.

“Air Education and Training Command (AETC) and the T-38 System Program Office (SPO) are focused on removing and replacing key fuselage structural components on identified T-38C aircraft historically exposed to the greatest fatigue damage. PC III is the third major structural overhaul on the T-38C fuselage. PC III will replace major structural components within the aircraft forward and centre fuselage to include major longerons, bulkheads/formers, internal skins, and a number of structural floors,” the RFI states.

In its solicitation, the USAF requires that interested contractors be able to manufacture and procure structural components compliant with the Technical Data Package (TDP); integrate all structural components into modification kits; deliver kits to the US government based on a 12–15 month lead time; and perform kit integration. Responses are due to the USAF by 1700 h MST on 9 February.

As previously reported by Jane’s , the PC III upgrade will see the USAF refurbish the airframes of 150 of its 453 T-38Cs to sustain them in service out to 2029. According to officials, it is the largest and most invasive structural modification ever performed on the Talon, with each aircraft taking approximately 8,900 man-hours to go through the process.

The initial aircraft have gone through the process at the Ogden Air Logistics Complex’s (ALC’s) 575th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, with the first being rolled out in April 2015.

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