The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a new $9.2bn contract to Boeing to support the service’s new T-X advanced pilot training programme.
Under the deal, the company will be responsible for the development and delivery of 351 units of the T-X trainer aircraft to the airforce, in addition to 46 simulators and associated ground equipment.
The advanced pilot training system has been designed to provide training to generations of fighter and bomber pilots for several decades in the future.
While Boeing serves as the designated prime contractor for the T-X programme, Saab functions as the company’s risk-sharing partner in the development and production of the trainer jet.
The two companies jointly designed, developed and successfully flight-tested two purpose-built T-X pilot training systems, proving the aircraft’s design and repeatability in manufacturing and training capability.
Boeing Defense, Space and Security president and CEO Leanne Caret said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of years of unwavering focus by the Boeing and Saab team.
“It is a direct result of our joint investment in developing a system centred on the unique requirements of the USAF. We expect T-X to be a franchise programme for much of this century.”
The agreement for the joint development of an all-new aircraft design for the T-X programme was signed between the two parties in December 2013.
An initial $813m contract has been awarded to Boeing to carry out the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) of the first five trainer jets along with seven training simulators.
Currently, the company is set to begin placing orders for the programme with its suppliers, including Saab.
More than 90% of work on the project will be carried out in the US and will help support more than 17,000 jobs in 34 states.
Designed to replace the ageing T-38 trainer fleet deployed with the USAF, the new T-X trainer aircraft provides the service with highly realistic simulation, computer-based training modules and adaptive training, in addition to a complete range of instructor tools to support a wide range of training requirements.