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.
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.