The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully carried out modifications on its Northrop Grumman-built T-38 twin-jet trainer aircraft, extending the aircraft’s life to 2029.
Carried out by the 575th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, the new development is part of a structural-modification programme, called Pacer Classic III.
The renovation of the T-38 marks the completion of the USAF’s first aircraft under the programme.
Currently, technicians in the Ogden Air Logistics Complex are working on 11 more aircraft, USAF stated.
Ogden ALC commander brigadier general Carl Buhler said: "Today is a special day, because we get to recognise the efforts of a tonne of work, work that started several years ago.
"It is not only a commitment to create and stand-up this T-38 (Pacer Classic III) modification line, but a commitment to deliver production quality aircraft that will have their lifespan extended till the 2029 timeframe, which will ensure pilot training capacity for our air force."
As part of this programme, the Air Force Sustainment Center has invested around $8m to improve facilities at JB San Antonio-Randolph.
During the modification work, the maintenance unit installed 11 fixtures to stabilise the aircraft during maintenance and support technicians to complete work on different sections of the aircraft simultaneously.
The USAF unit is expected to complete the modification of 17 more aircraft in 2016, while it is planning to complete work on more than 150 T-38s by 2021.
The USAF T-38 trainers are primarily used by the Air Education and Training Command for joint specialised undergraduate pilot training (JSUPT).
Image: Pacer Classic III represents the largest single structural modification ever undertaken on the T-38. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Stormy Archer.