Boeing wins US$9.2b contract for new Air Force training jet

Winning the contract is significant for Boeing which reorganized its defense business more than a year ago in the hopes of a ‘franchise level’ victory such as the trainer

Air Force turns to Boeing for $9.2 billion training aircraft contract

Under the terms of the contract, Boeing will deliver 351 aircraft, 46 training devices and other ground equipment.

Raytheon and Leonardo had jointly announced that they would not be participating in the US Air Force T-X trainer acquisition program in January past year. The initial batch of 350 aircrafts to replace the T-38 Talon jets in service since the 1960s was originally estimated to cost $16 billion, much higher than the final bidding price of $9.2 billion.

The new sophisticated training system will help train fighter and bomber pilots of the Air Force for generations to come, and Boeing is the designated prime contractor for the Advanced Pilot Training Program. Those first jets are due to arrive at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, in 2023.

Boeing announced that it has won the contract via a tweet.

On Monday, Boeing was awarded a job valued at as much as $2.38 billion for as many as 84 new helicopters to guard intercontinental ballistic missile sites in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota.

Saab has offered to establish manufacturing and production capability in the United States for its Boeing/Saab T-X advanced trainer aircraft.

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But in the past month Boeing has won a string of major military contracts that should pad its coffers for decades.

In an article at Forbes.com, Aboulafia said the next major USA military aircraft selection, likely a new Air Force fighter, might not happen for 12 years or longer. Lockheed, the manufacturer of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, is the world's largest defense contractor by a wide margin, taking in $50 billion in USA contract dollars a year ago compared with Boeing's $23 billion.

The indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract allows the Air Force to purchase up to 475 aircraft and 120 simulators.

The aircraft giant, which submitted a bid in partnership with Swedish company Saab, outlasted Lockheed Martin and Italy's Leonardo in the competition for the contract. "Through competition we will save at least $10 billion on the T-X program". To win the bid the team designed, developed, and flight tested two all-new, purpose-built jets showcasing the system's design, repeatability in manufacturing and training capability to Air Force officials. The Air Force offered further information in its own statement and in comments to reporters, according to Defense News. CAFB will receive a new line of trainer jets to replace the almost 60-year-old T38.

Boeing and Saab will perform the majority of the work at facilities in St. Louis, Missouri.

In a statement, Air Force secretary Heather Wilson touted the cost savings achieved through the award, noting that initial estimates had pegged the cost of the program at nearly $20 billion.

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