After suffering a series of blows – from losing its bid to manufacture the US military’s much anticipated F-35 Lightning II and B-21 bomber, to the industry’s stagnating demand for commercial jetliners – Boeing has shown signs of revitalization as it unveiled its latest aircraft to compete for the US Air Force’s $11 billion T-X trainer program.
Partnered with the Swedish manufacturer Saab, Boeing sources claim that the twin-tailed aircraft powered by a General Electric engine was built with the latest fifth-generation fighters in mind: reports show that the trainer aircraft mimics the design and airframe of the latest aircraft that pilots would eventually be flying.
“Our T-X is real, ready and the right choice for training pilots for generations to come,” said Boeing Defense, Space & Security President and CEO Leanne Caret in a press release.
Details of the aircraft, such as manufacturing techniques, remain a secret due to the competition behind the award. However, what Boeing does seem to emphasize is the affordability of the aircraft.
“I don’t want to give away all of the competitive secrets here,” said president of Boeing Phantom Works Darryl Davis in DefenseNews. “But we’re going to shatter that cost curve.”
Also undisclosed was the specific agreement between Saab and Boeing to manufacture the aircraft. However, according to DefenseNews, Davis did state that some of the technology originated from Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and Saab’s next-generation fighter, the Gripen.
“There’s a lot of reuse throughout this whole jet, to include some of the design and manufacturing,” Davis stated in DefenseNews. “They brought a tremendous amount of expertise, technical detail, a lot of reuse of some systems out of the Gripen.”
- Sgt. Jeffrey Allen/US Air Force
Boeing has been the first company to publicly display their newly-designed entry into the competition, while details on Northrop Grumman’s trainer aircraft remain scant – so far, only a few teaser images and pictures on Twitter have appeared.