Boeing conducts first EMD flight test of T-X trainer aircraft

4 July 2019 (Last Updated July 4th, 2019 11:30)

Boeing has conducted the first flight of the T-X advanced pilot training aircraft under the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

Boeing conducts first EMD flight test of T-X trainer aircraft
Two Boeing T-X trainer aircraft, designed for the USAF, seen here parked on a taxiway. Credit: Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs.

Boeing has conducted the first flight of the T-X advanced pilot training aircraft under the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase.

The company developed the T-X trainer aircraft in partnership with Saab. The partners designed, developed, and flight-tested two purpose-built aircraft.

Specially designed to support the US Air Force’s (USAF) training mission, the T-X began EMD flight trials at Boeing’s St Louis facility in Missouri on 1 July.

The company has not given any details regarding the nature or duration of the flight test.

Boeing chief T-X test pilot Steve Schmidt was quoted by Jane’s as saying: “[It] went extremely well. She flew just superb [during the] first flight [of the] EMD test programme. [The] first test points went off without a hitch.”

The company has performed 71 test flights of the aircraft between December 2016 and 2018.

Prior to the first EMD sortie, Boeing and Saab analysed the data from these test flights.

The T-X aircraft will serve as the future trainer of the USAF, training future fighter and bomber pilots.

Boeing won a contract worth up to $9.2bn for the T-X pilot training programme in September.

The USAF intends to acquire 351 jets, 46 simulators and associated ground equipment.

The Boeing T-X aircraft, which will replace the service’s existing T-38 trainer, features one engine, twin tails, stadium seating and an advanced cockpit with embedded training.

Initial operating capability for the aircraft is anticipated in 2024.

In October, Boeing awarded a contract to Saab for the EMD phase for the T-X programme, which consists of multiple phases.

During the EMD phase, the partners will focus on industrialising the T-X aircraft with the USAF.

This phase includes testing, US military flight certification and delivery of five jets. After completion of the phase, the programme will transition to the serial production phase.