Boeing has been contracted to undertake the second phase of service-life extension programme (SLEP) of the US Navy’s (USN’s) fleet of T-45 Goshawk jet trainer aircraft, it was announced in late January.
The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has been awarded USD12.6 million by the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) for the production and delivery of an initial 39 T-45 SLEP kits, mainly at its St Louis facility in Missouri. This work is expected to be completed in September 2019.
Derived from the BAE Systems Hawk T1, the T-45 Goshawk has been used by the USN to train pilots for carrier operations since 1991. Today, there are close to 200 such aircraft in service.
A Boeing representative told Jane’s that the SLEP Phase 2 is a continuation of a service life assessment programme (SLAP) that ran from December 2008 to February 2012 and the follow-on SLEP Phase 1A/1B. Having studied 180 critical locations on the T‐45 airframe, the SLAP found that 32 locations did not meet the aircraft’s 14,400 flight hour goal (this lifespan includes 56,214 runway landings, and 1,020 catapult-launches and arrested landings [these carrier launches and recoveries were later doubled to 2,040 through retrofits of critical components]). The aim of the SLEP is not only to see the aircraft through to this goal, but also to increase the platform’s life to 19,800 flight hours.
As explained by the representative, to properly plan and manage the life extension effort the [US] government divided the SLEP into several sequential phases. “SLEP Phase 1A was early Non‐Recurring Engineering (NRE), and Boeing produced the notional repair concepts required to extend the life of each location. Phase 1A also included rework cost estimates to allow the government to select the most economical end point for the airframe, and to effectively plan the scope of SLEP Phase 1B.
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