Boeing wins $9 billion Air Force contract

Alicia Cross
October 1, 2018

Boeing will receive a $9.2 billion contract to produce more than 350 T-X trainer jets in addition to simulators and other equipment.

"I commend the U.S. Air Force for selecting Boeing's T-X proposal and supporting Missouri's workforce", said Governor Parson.

Boeing beat out Lockheed Martin and a Leonardo-CAE-Honeywell team to replace the USAF's ageing Northrop T-38 Talon trainers.

The service engaged early with industry on the requirements for the advanced pilot trainer, which helped incite competition and buy down risk, said Will Roper, Air Force assistant secretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. It's the continuation of a great week for Boeing, which, in collaboration with Euro defense firm Leonardo, just won the contract to replace the Air Force's aging fleet of UH-60 "Huey" helicopters.

The goal is to have the new trainer aircraft at full operational capability by 2034. Those bases include Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi; Laughlin AFB, Texas; Sheppard AFB, Texas and Vance AFB, Oklahoma. Boeing and Triumph officials have previously said that orders for hundreds more of the training aircraft could also be placed by foreign military forces.

This follows a trend in both Air Force contracts and Boeing's recent string of significant successes in offering aircraft to the USA military as a whole. "We expect T-X to be a franchise program for much of this century".

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KAI has teamed up with Lockheed Martin to compete with a consortium formed by U.S. Boeing and Sweden's Saab.

Military-aircraft contests have been few and far between in an era of budget constraints, so even contracts for less-sophisticated jets such as trainers are highly prized as prime defense contractors like Boeing work to keep airplane designers sharp and factories humming.

The T-X is a joint project between Boeing and Saab and will be built at Boeing's facility in St. Louis.

Boeing's T-X is a clean-sheet design.

On both the KC-46 and T-X, Boeing's hopes of recouping its costs depend on further overseas sales after the US military decision.

The service touted over $10 billion in cost savings from its previous program estimate of $19 billion.

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