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US Air Force expects new requirements for Advanced Tactical Trainer

The KAI T-50A is a top expected respondent to the US Air Force's Advanced Tactical Trainer request for information. KAI teamed with Lockheed Martin to offer the platform the USAF's Advanced Pilot Training procurement, which selected the Boeing-Saab T-7A. (Lockheed Martin)

General Mark Kelly, Air Combat Command (ACC) chief, and an important US Air Force (USAF) officer, anticipates requirements for a possible new Advanced Tactical Trainer (ATT) that were not requested for the service's Boeing-Saab T-7A Red Hawk advanced jet trainer, which is in development.

Gen Kelly said on 25 October that he expects an increased demand for sensor capability, whether that is for a small radar or a small jammer. He also anticipates an increased fuel requirement for mission duration and afterburner use, and a nascent small weapons computing capability for at least deploying a Raytheon AIM-9 Sidewinder infrared air-to-air missile capability.

Gen Kelly also said that the new ATT could require some simulation playback that has real, simulated, or constructed threat awareness. But he has not ruled the T-7A out of any consideration for a possible new tactical trainer.

“(The T-7A) may be able to fill most of our (ATT) needs,” Gen Kelly said during a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event. “But the difference between going from training to fighter training will unambiguously generate a size, weight, and power requirement.”

This new ATT would support three training tasks: provide initial tactical training and adversary air support while serving as a tactical fighter surrogate of existing and future USAF front-line fighters. Responses to the ATT request for information (RFI) are due on 23 November. Doug Birkey, executive director of the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, told Janes

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