USAF completes modification of T-38C Talon supersonic jet trainer aircraft


The US Air Force (USAF) has announced the completion of two modifications to its T-38C Talon supersonic jet trainer aircraft.

As part of the $50m modification programme, a video data transfer system (VDTS) and a speed break indicator switch (SBIS) were installed on the Northrop Grumman-built aircraft.

The VDTS/SBIS programme modified the last of 446 aircraft from the USAF and 10 T-38Cs operated by the US Navy.

USAF T-38 System programme manager Angela Micheal said: “Service life extension programmes and modifications are essential for ageing aircraft like the T-38 in order to meet current and future mission needs.

“These modifications will ensure continued suitable, safe and effective operation of the T-38 fleet.”

The VDTS records flight and cockpit data that is used to debrief student pilots after training flights, the USAF stated.

The visual indicator of the speed brake on the heads-up display will allow the pilots to check the aircraft’s speed brake position during flight.

"Service life extension programmes and modifications are essential for ageing aircraft like the T-38 in order to meet current and future mission needs."

The air force is also replacing fatigued structural components on the aircraft and providing avionic upgrades such as ADS-B and component redesigns to address aircraft obsolescence.

The modifications being made are expected to extend the aircraft's operational life until at least 2034, when the next-generation Trainer-X is expected to reach full operational capability.

The jet trainer is primarily used by the Air Education and Training Command to train combat-ready pilots for fighter and bomber pilot training.


Image: A T-38 Talon on the ramp at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Stormy Archer.