PICTURES: Lockheed flies first T-50A in bid for USAF T-X Competition
June 03, 2016 • Leave a Comment
Photo credit: KAI
Lockheed Martin has made the first flight of its T-50A, its offering for the U.S. Air Force's competition to replace the T-38C advanced trainer. A modified version of the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) Golden Eagle, the T-50A is equipped with a spine-mounted receptacle compatible with the aerial refueling boom, glass cockpit displays, embedded training software and an open architecture mission system — key requirements of the T-X Advanced Pilot Training system.
The flight took place on 2 June from Sacheon, South Korea, where the T-50 Golden Eagle is manufactured. If selected, the T-50A will be produced in a final assembly and check-out facility in Greenville, South Carolina.
Hundreds of T-38 Talons will be replaced under the T-X Advanced Pilot Training program as the dated trainer is no longer able to prepare pilots to handle the avionics and mission scenarios of fifth-generation fighters. The competition has also attracted bids from other heavyweight teams — Northrop Grumman and Boeing/Saab teams with their respective clean-sheet designs, as well as Raytheon with a derivative of the Alenia M-346 Master known as the T-100.
An important feature of the T-X program will be the simulation element where live and synthetic constructs could be blended together and incorporated in training models. Ground-based simulators could interface with aircraft in the air through datalinks to simulate tactical missions and scenarios.
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