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T-X - A Future USAF Trainer

Archibald

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I didn't even realized the T-X was so long in development. I instantly fell in love with Northrop entry. What a cute little jet, shame Northrop retired. Boing and SAAB, how about that. The T-50 is far less a surprise.
 

sferrin

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What is it with Lockheed and bribes? :p
 

GTX

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My understanding is that LM was not part of this. It was KAI alone. Would love to have heard the discussion between LM and KAI though when it broke...
 

sferrin

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GTX said:
My understanding is that LM was not part of this. It was KAI alone. Would love to have heard the discussion between LM and KAI though when it broke...
With hearing protection in place of course. ;)
 

kcran567

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Yes, those T-x (Saab) weights/specs must be wrong and are for the T-38 as a few have said.
The Saab T-x is heavier than an F-20 and more internal volume? Hard to find accurate specs yet for the SAAB. Would be very ineresting to compare the N-400 Northrop/Scaled with the Saab. But nothing is
Out there at all on the N400. Would also like to see a top planform view of the N400 but can't find that either.
 

kcran567

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https://www.wearethemighty.com/air-force-cheap-lightweight-planes

2 days ago. AF wants cheap lightweight fighter to do things F-35 can't.

N400 might still offered as a lightweight/light attack fighter to compete with Scorpion.
A Super Tucano might be a little too vulnerable and slow, so Scorpion favored? or see n400 back again?
 

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kcran567 said:
https://www.wearethemighty.com/air-force-cheap-lightweight-planes

2 days ago. AF wants cheap lightweight fighter to do things F-35 can't.
That´s for the light attack mission. They´re going for turboprops, not jets.
 

kcran567

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Boeing/Saab said they would continue production even if they lose the T-x competition.
I think early on Northrop/Scaled said the same thing. There is going to be
A big need for those and the Scorpion because F-35 is too much for many
customers. I'm just speculating and hoping the n400 might still come back beyond T-x.
F-35 as top of a hi/lo mix with the the Super Tucano and turboprop at the very
Bottom of the lo mix.
 

litzj

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kcran567 said:
Boeing/Saab said they would continue production even if they lose the T-x competition.
I think early on Northrop/Scaled said the same thing. There is going to be
A big need for those and the Scorpion because F-35 is too much for many
customers. I'm just speculating and hoping the n400 might still come back beyond T-x.
F-35 as top of a hi/lo mix with the the Super Tucano and turboprop at the very
Bottom of the lo mix.
Still, it could be 'lip-service' for production of T-X prototype though they lose it.

gap between F-35 and Tucano-class aircraft might be filled by UCAV (my opinion)
 

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If you want a low-cost fighter with a wide mission spectrum, there's Gripen. I can't see a T-X derivative being any better.

Tucano/AT-6 are for a specific, different fight - air support against irregulars who don't form a fighting unit until there's a target (patrol or convoy). The mission involves being there, or close and airborne, when the friendlies are out and moving, so that the irregulars know you'll be bringing the heat as soon as they start to move.

And nothing (including business-jet turbofans) loiters low and slow as efficiently as a prop and straight wings. My personal preference is the AHRLAC layout, where the wing and the engine aren't blocking the view of what you want to see, you have a payload module on the CG and you have the option of a centerline gun (with guided rounds not so far away).
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
If you want a low-cost fighter with a wide mission spectrum, there's Gripen. I can't see a T-X derivative being any better.
Well the T-X would certainly be cheaper. If they're willing to pay for Gripens just buy more F-16s.
 

GTX

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If one wants a light fighter linked to the T-X, then the T-50A is already essentially there in its TA-50 and FA-50 variants:
 

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Yeah, it is true that there is a rumor : winner of T-X probably take part light-weight fighter market cheaper than F-35.

However, after USAF confirm light weight aircraft is Tucano class aircraft than jet one.
 

TomS

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Gorgeous. Looks quite small compared to the continuing T-X candidates, I think.
 

kcran567

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flateric said:
Nice! Wins the contest on looks alone in my opinion. Hope it has some life after TX.

Did you sneak in disguised as a mechanic? :D Just kidding.

looks like ejection seats removed?
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Well the T-X would certainly be cheaper.

Why?
T-50
Unit cost
T-50: US$21 million (2008)[3]
TA-50: US$25 million (2011)[4]
FA-50: US$30 million (2012)[5]

Gripen
Unit cost
US$ 30–60 million for JAS 39C[3][4][5][6]
 

TomS

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So, Gripen and FA-50 cost basically the same. (I'm discounting the higher end of the Gripen range because when you see that big a variation it suggests that the higher number includes stuff like training, spares, and maintenance, not just a bare aircraft.)

Source would be nice to see what those footnotes are.
 

sferrin

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TomS said:
So, Gripen and FA-50 cost basically the same.
I sincerely doubt that.

TomS said:
(I'm discounting the higher end of the Gripen range because when you see that big a variation it suggests that the higher number includes stuff like training, spares, and maintenance, not just a bare aircraft.)
Well, no. When you do that you get a MUCH higher price. Try $125 million a pop.

http://www.ibtimes.com/brazilians-arent-happy-about-45-billion-purchase-saab-gripen-fighter-jets-1514618


Even this puts it at $44 million (Gripen C), and that was 5 years ago:

https://defenseissues.net/2013/10/05/modern-aircraft-flyaway-costs/

(Note: neither Rafale or Gripen prices include VAT; with VAT, costs are 100 million USD Rafale M, 90 million USD Rafale C, 100 million USD Gripen E, 53 million USD Gripen C, 43 million USD Gripen A)
 

LowObservable

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So has ROK pitched the F/A-50 against Gripen?

When that happens... As it is, there are no grounds for a comparison. And AAFK (as any fule kno) a complete package can't be compared to flyaway.
 

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Design targets of the two aircraft are basically different; only same thing is they had chosen same engine.

So, only physical size of the aircraft seem to be similar.

T-50 emphasize trainer role which has conventional style of wing, smaller swept angle of F-16's wing, higher drag for pilot's vision.
Also T-50 choose only little modification of F-16, older design than Gripen.

Gripen concentrated fighter performance, unstable pitch, lower drag with new a hardware.

Indeed, T-50 is basically cheaper than Gripen because they pursuit different goal.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
So has ROK pitched the F/A-50 against Gripen?

When that happens... As it is, there are no grounds for a comparison. And AAFK (as any fule kno) a complete package can't be compared to flyaway.
That's why both (package and flyaway) are up there. If you disagree, how about YOU provide some recent flyaway sources for both.

As for, "no grounds for comparison" you did just that right here:

"If you want a low-cost fighter with a wide mission spectrum, there's Gripen. I can't see a T-X derivative being any better."

Are you saying your claim had no basis in reality? No? So show your justification (real dollars that is).
 

LowObservable

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First of all, the parenthetical sources behind your cost figures don't have links.

Second, a package price can only be compared in the same competition under the same rules. (As in Korea's F-X3.) Also, if the customer doesn't have a political environment where defense costs are debated, the contractor (and his government) are tempted to inflate the price to impress the folks at home.

Third, no TX version will be in the same class as Gripen, on present evidence. When I see one with internal ECM, a proper radar, MRAAM integration &c, I may be convinced otherwise; and if you do start trying to stuff those features in a TX you will be pushing up against Gripen's cost.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
Third, no TX version will be in the same class as Gripen, on present evidence. When I see one with internal ECM, a proper radar, MRAAM integration &c, I may be convinced otherwise; and if you do start trying to stuff those features in a TX you will be pushing up against Gripen's cost.
Fair enough, but why go through the trouble of buying a trainer only to add all the bells and whistles? As I said earlier, may as well buy more F-16s. While a late model F-16 might have a somewhat higher flyaway cost than a Gripen, once you add in all the costs of adding a new type to the inventory (spares, training, maintenance, facilities, etc.) into the mix there is no compelling reason for a Gripen over more F-16s.

If they're going to buy a trainer buy a trainer. If they want to turn it into a "cheap" fighter then keep it cheap instead of turning an F-16A into a Block 60. Furthermore, the point of a "cheap, lightweight" fighter is to fight in low-threat areas like Afghanistan, where a fully equipped fighter is overkill. If you have to add all the bells and whistles just to survive then you'd be better off just sending your frontline fighters.
 

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_Del_

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I'm onboard with a dumbed down F-16 if they want a lightweight fighter as part of the same program. A Gripen variant would work(and I love it), but I'd think the commonality value logistically would outweigh any cost savings in purchase costs for a wholly new type. Something like a F-16D with complete airframe and powerplant commonality with the Block 50, but without the bells and whistles for MRAAM, all-weather operations, etc.

Or wrangle a deal with LockMart to SLEP older block 50 D's and extend their lives for a T/A-X and simultaneously purchase newer airframes of block 50 or 60 for front line units.
 

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The newspaper quoted a leaked document prepared by KAI for the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) as saying the Gripen’s lifecycle costs are estimated to be three times that of the FA-50.

I am reminded of the old joke about the missionary and the cattle. ("Watch you don't step in the m'bongo.")

Otherwise. Yes, if you have F-16s, then more F-16s will tend to make sense. And in a truly low-threat area (that is, nothing worse than MANPADS) you're better off with an A-29/T-6/AHRLAC.
 

sferrin

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_Del_ said:
but I'd think the commonality value logistically would outweigh any cost savings in purchase costs for a wholly new type. Something like a F-16D with complete airframe and powerplant commonality with the Block 50, but without the bells and whistles for MRAAM, all-weather operations, etc.
That's not really what I meant. I just used the F-16A to Block 60 comparison to illustrate what a T-50 to FA-50+ would look like.
 

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I get where you were going.

But my point would remain, if they are determined to expand the program to include a TA-50 (or whatever TX is eventually called), why not just skip new TX and go F-16D-lite for TX and F-16C/D-customized for the light attack role in place of light attack/TA-X?

I can't imagine TA-50 would have low enough purchase and operations costs to overcome the logistics commonality, maintenance-training and pilot-training commonality, etc along with all the development costs and hiccups traditional when introducing a new type.

A straight program for a clean-sheet trainer with low acquisition costs and operations costs has a better argument, but as soon as you try turning it into a combat aircraft as well, it seems to me the cost-benefit equation swings to a variant of a design already in service with fewer bells and whistles to meet the newer requirements, but delivers more for less than the clean sheet TX.
 

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Maybe I missed it ... but is there already a given date to announce the winner?
 

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Deino said:
Maybe I missed it ... but is there already a given date to announce the winner?
In May, they were saying summer, maybe August. But I believe they need to get a request out for final pricing data and I don't think that's happened yet, so it would have to be September at the earliest now.
 

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USAF has not requested final pricing data yet, to my knowledge. The contract award would be weeks after that request.

Part of the problem here is JSTARS recap. The Air Force wants it dead in favor of ABMS, but they were fighting powerful House members who not only wanted it to stay alive, they were trying to force a source selection on the program before other programs like T-X could move forward. The NDAA finally made it though Congress with JSTARS recap dead, but it has been sitting on the President's desk for a week and there's zero chance the Air Force makes a move until they're sure he's signed it.
 

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This kind of sneaked out a couple of days ago.

https://www.defensenews.com/air/2018/08/28/when-you-should-expect-the-air-force-to-announce-its-next-trainer-aircraft/

With the U.S. Air Force having received final bids from industry, the service is now poised to award a contract for its 350-plane next-generation trainer fleet in just a few weeks.

An Air Force official, speaking on background, said the service expects to award the contract by the end of the fiscal year — in other words, before Sept. 30. Many have speculated that the days before the Air Force Association’s annual conference, being held Sept. 17-19 outside of Washington, would be a potential time for an announcement to come.

However, a source with knowledge of the situation said the current plan is to make the announcement after AFA concludes, likely the week of Sept. 24. If true, it could create an awkward environment at the event, where senior leaders will have to duck commenting on the soon-to-come T-X winner.
The second source make sense. I don't recall the Air Force making procurement announcements like this at industry events. And officials never have problems "ducking" questions about upcoming contract awards.
 

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I personally cannot wait for the announcement of the T-X winning design.
 

Mark Nankivil

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Thanks Flateric - rather nice looking lines. Hope Scaled keeps it flying as a chase plane....

Enjoy the Day! Mark
 

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Its actually rather beautiful. Shame Northrop didn't bid.
 
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