Defense contractor Raytheon Co. is expected to link with Finmeccanica SpA to bid in the upcoming competition for the contract to replace the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of Northrop T-38 Talon fighter-jet training aircraft. The successful bidder could gain an award estimated at $8 billion to $10 billion as the USAF replaces a fleet of training aircraft that in some cases are up to 50 years old.
The USAF’s T-X Program represents an order for about 350 aircraft, initially, though that figure could rise to as many as 1,000 aircraft over the life of the program. The replacement program had been expected to begin in 2017, but the constraints in U.S. defense spending over recent years have advanced the program’s initial operating capability date roughly to 2023.
Recently, Lockheed Martin announced it would team with Korea Aerospace Industries on a bid involving their co-developed T-50A aircraft to replace the T-38 jet, rather than a “clean sheet” design. Boeing Defense reportedly will join with Saab AB to develop a new training plane, and Textron Inc. and Northrop Grumman Corp are designing new planes as well.
Raytheon has a series of defense system and technology specialties, including missile systems, space and airborne technologies, intelligence, computer security, and integrated defense systems.