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T-X - A Future USAF Trainer

Grey Havoc

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http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-will-downgrade-t-x-requirements-to-shave-cost-407923/

Oh for the love of....
 

Reaper

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It should have two seats! But it's not a must! ;)
 

LowObservable

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Sounds like they want to scrub the requirement for the gremlins that add 10 per cent to the capability and 40 per cent to the cost. It also depends where the reqs were before they started the process.


Somehow, the rest of the world has gotten by without supersonic trainers. And even if you insist on supersonic, there's a difference between just that and wanting 7g sustained and M=1.5 for Aggressor missions. At that point, look at the cost of maintaining a dedicated Aggressor fleet versus making all your trainers 50 per cent bigger than most of the mission requires.
 

fightingirish

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Sundog said:
The cover of the new issue of Aviation Week shows what I assume to be the forward fuselage of the NG T-X design. I don't know if they have more images of it inside, since my issue never shows up until a couple of weeks after it's been released and every time I ask them to give me online access with my subscription, there isn't a reply.
No more images of the NG T-X design are shown in the latest issue of AW&ST, February 16th to March 1st, 2015. :mad:
 

flateric

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February 9, 2015: Northrop Grumman unveils its new concept for the U.S. Air Force’s T-X fast-jet trainer for F-22 and F-35 pilots. The Northrop team—including BAE Systems and L-3 Communications—had been planning to use the BAE Hawk in its bid to replace T-38 trainers. But now, Northrop’s Scaled Composites unit is fabricating a prototype of a clean-sheet design.

Northrop Grumman/Scaled Composites artist’s concept.
 

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JFC Fuller

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Have NG kept BAE in the bid? I would have thought they would almost be surplus to requirements at this point?
 

flateric

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Tailspin Turtle said:
That's odd. The print edition is dated 2-15 February.
More than that
 

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Wahubna

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As a hard-core Scaled Composites fan I have to say my current unrealistic fantasy is the 2 seater ARES for T-X ;D...no way that is it, but I bet Scaled (Rutan & Cory Bird specifically) have had something up there sleeve for a high performance light tactical jet for years after ARES...
 

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bring_it_on

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T-X KPP's

https://www.scribd.com/doc/259347717/T-X-KPP
 

TomS

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Also here (see the Requirements matrix):

https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=36bbba77ca454a9464c1ed3ebc1fa8b1&tab=core&_cview=1

There's no specific speed requirement, but the instantaneous G requirement is 8g at 0.9 Mach. Sustained is ≥6.5 (Threshold)/≥7.5 (Objective) at ≤0.9 Mach. There doesn't seem to be anything demanding supersonic performance.

Also, no requirement for real sensors, just simulated radar, targeting pod, and defensive countermeasures. There is a section in one document asking for a description of how much work would be required to add real rather than simulated systems, but they don't seem interested in buying them up front.
 

Wahubna

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Ouch, those stats make the Scorpion seem less reasonable...
 

bring_it_on

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T-X: $1 Billion a Year


The finalrequirements for the Air Force’s T-X trainer call for a fleet of 350 aircraft and a training system, including simulators and courseware, that can be bought and operated for $1 billion a year for 20 years, in base-year 2014 dollars. A contract is to be let in late 2017. The requirements are being released about 10 months earlier than usual acquisition procedures, meant to generate “more deliberate and open engagement with industry,” said Brig. Gen. Dawn Dunlop, Air Education and Training Command director of programs and requirements. Initial draft requirements were released in 2012. The jets will replace about 420 T-38s, which are now more than 50 years old. According to AETC, the period of operation for T-X is 2026-2045, with first deliveries due in 2022. The aircraft are to fly 360 hours a year, at a mission readiness rate of 80 percent. AETC has not limited the competition to “off the shelf” aircraft, and contractors are free to submit clean-sheet designs. Boeing and Northrop Grumman each are designing new jets for the T-X competition, and Lockheed Martin has a new design ready in case its offering of the Korean T-50 trainer, which it helped develop, doesn’t meet the requirements.
http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/March%202015/March%2023%202015/T-X-$1-Billion-a-Year.aspx
No Aggressor, But Built-In Adaptability


The requirements for the Air Force’s T-X trainer don’t call for the airplane to be capable of the aggressor mission, but the jet is to have sufficient space, weight, power, and cooling to accommodate that role in the future. Lt. Gen Tod Wolters, deputy chief of staff for operations, told the Senate Armed Services airland panel on March 19 that it’s “too early” to look at the T-X for the aggressor role, noting F-16s are doing the mission “most cost effectively” for the near-term. However, USAF may want to consider the T-X in the aggressor role “at some point.” William LaPlante, service acquisition executive, said USAF ensured the requirements didn’t “limit our options” regarding future T-X applications. Air Education and Training Command said March 20 there is $40 million across the future years defense plan under “stores-aircraft interface” “to provide future planning or development options related to T-X.” Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, said a T-X variant “is just one option for ‘Red Air’ if we decide there’s a requirement for it.” (LaPlante/Holmes prepared testimony)
http://www.airforcemag.com/DRArchive/Pages/2015/March%202015/March%2023%202015/No-Aggressor,-But-Built-In-Adaptability.aspx
 

LowObservable

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The AF seems very confused. The budget language doesn't talk about the "stores-aircraft interface" - which is specifically a TX version - solely or primarily as an Aggressor, but as a companion trainer for the F-35 (as F-22 squadrons use T-38s). It would have radar, datalink and jammer, and the argument for it is economic - the CTs would stand in for F-35s, particularly on multi-ship training operations.

The T-X performance would be adequate for most of that mission. I don't think the AF should even think of using it as an aggressor, however: it would probably blow the budget for acquisition and O&S. They should look around for someone who's going to be looking for a home for c.100 low-time, low-CPFH modern fighters in the 2020s. :)
 

bring_it_on

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Program Overview Col Pete Eide
 

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Stargazer2006

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Wahubna said:
As a hard-core Scaled Composites fan I have to say my current unrealistic fantasy is the 2 seater ARES for T-X ;D ...no way that is it, but I bet Scaled (Rutan & Cory Bird specifically) have had something up there sleeve for a high performance light tactical jet for years after ARES...
Thanks for these ARES pics, especially the two-seater.

You described yourself as "a hard-core Scaled Composites fan"... that's cool. I'm always on the lookout for people who could assist me in updating my STARGAZER website more often (I'm busy with so many projects that I can't really keep up to date). In case you're interested I'd love to hear from you in a private message.
 

Pioneer

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Well from my perspective (for what its worth), I think its a great, but deserved indictment on the U.S. aviation industry and the USAF, that it can no longer build (I say build, as opposed to design) the USAF's 'T-X'.
My analogy comes down to the fact that hardly any aircraft program, let alone something as fundamentally basic as an efficient and cost effective training aircraft can be trusted too the U.S. aviation industry, what with their inherent ability to cause time and financial blow-outs! Granted the inability of the U.S. services to be able to derive, let alone stick to a program, without continuous changes, requirements and implementations.
But saying this I have always been a firm advocate that the Pentagon/U.S. Defence Industry/U.S. politics has been notorious in continuously being guilty for attempting to reinvent the wheel ('Not built in America' ideology) when it comes to weapons/weapons platforms, which are already available, built and tested, but alas by foreigners :mad:

Here's hoping that what ever...who ever the USAF selects to build its next gen of trainers, that it doesn't stick its finger in the ointment of the given design and turn it into an overly complex, overweight and of course as per all U.S. military programs - overly expensive platform which eventually gets cancelled!! :eek:

Regards
Pioneer
 

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I have some close-up pictures of a local T-38 pole model that really show the great lines of the aircraft. I was going to post a few if anybody is interested.


As far as its relpacement, shouldn't a "next generation" T-38/F-5/F-20 be more or less what the Air Force should be wanting? Is the AF downplaying the Red Air option because it knows that a stealthy agressor is not financially possible? To have an effective training aircraft there must be some stealth built in to simulate those threats. It is interesting that Lockheed Skunkworks, and Scaled Composites/Northrop, and Boeing Saab are all offering new clean sheet designs. I personally am hoping for something very futuristic, 6th Gen almost. But there must be some real breakthroughs in cost and manufacturing methods to make it viable.
 

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The general move is towards virtual / augmented reality training - so long as T-X can maneuver like a 4th / 5th gen fighter and has a half-decent cockpit design, they can then add the 'stealth' in later by having modelled the 3D RCS of aircraft either via real-world testing (for US aircraft), supplied data (from allies) and/or high-end RCS simulation, and then programming software to fake not being able to detect an aircraft until some distance, as dictated by aircraft attitude, simulated capabilities, etc.
 

AeroFranz

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http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/usaf-reaffirms-ambitious-t-x-sustained-g-requirement-414531/


"The government wants to avoid a design that would be cost prohibitive to add AR capability in the future"

Right there you've all but eliminated all COTS solutions. None of the legacy trainers are designed for boom AR. Whereas you can bolt on a probe and drogue system, boom receptacles actually require lots of analysis and more importantly internal volume that is hard to find in a modern aircraft that does not have it built-in from the start. Scabbing on something externally will never be nearly as good.

So the "affordable" solution is a clean sheet design (with all the NRE costs associated), capable of 7.5g sustained (read: big wing and big engine). What a joke. The air force is addicted to gold-plating and requirement creep, and will spend itself into oblivion. Not that i am bitter or anything.
 

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sferrin

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Speaking of. . .

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/04/205_135843.html

As for "gold plating", the T-38 wasn't exactly a cheap POS for it's day. Secondly, what use would an aircraft be that couldn't actually train a pilot to use the aircraft they're going to be flying? Is boom refueling something you really want to learn OJT?
 

LowObservable

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More and more interesting.


The operative word is "downloading".
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
More and more interesting.


The operative word is "downloading".
Elaborate.
 

LowObservable

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Taking training tasks off the fighter and moving them to the trainer. It's influenced by the relative costs of each. You could see it as parallel to the 1950s, when most of the Century series looked very big and expensive, so a supersonic trainer seemed to make sense.


Lack of a two-seat option is another factor. It saves you $$ on the fighter side and means you're not carrying less-capable two-seaters on the squadron but also eliminates a training tool.
 

AeroFranz

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sferrin said:
Speaking of. . .

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/04/205_135843.html

As for "gold plating", the T-38 wasn't exactly a cheap POS for it's day. Secondly, what use would an aircraft be that couldn't actually train a pilot to use the aircraft they're going to be flying? Is boom refueling something you really want to learn OJT?

No, but it's not outlandish to think that you could have an OML-conformal but non-functional receptacle that could do everything but the actual transfer of fuel. At any rate the flight handling characteristics of the platform you will end up flying operationally (F-22, F-35, F/A-XX, etc.) will be different from those of T-X, so flight training is always only representative up to some point. I guess that ground simulation takes care of the rest. Not to belittle the flying skills required, but the presence of a boom operator considerably eases the burden of the receiving platform compared to probe and drogue.


For obvious reasons, it's in the AF's interest to have as large a user base as possible. It is safe to say that the T-X emerging from the current requirements will be more expensive than T-50, Hawk, M346. Other nations may find that their needs are not as exacting as those for T-X and will not elect to buy it.


My point is: the AF is traditionally very poor at picking 80/20 solutions. How does that maxim go again? "It's the last 10% of the capabilities that net 50% of the total cost"?


Let's make an absurd example - just humor me. If i were to tell you that removing the AR capability from T-X would save enough money to buy six more F-22s (from a magically restarted production line), wouldn't you think about it? You can come up with scenarios of your own.
My view is that the acquisition budget is a zero-sum game, and "exquisite" capabilities should be carefully required only where necessary, because inevitably it means you won't be able to afford something you might need just as bad if not more. My .02.
 

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AeroFranz said:
No, but it's not outlandish to think that you could have an OML-conformal but non-functional receptacle that could do everything but the actual transfer of fuel.
I think France did this for their Mirage 4 training, using non-functioning nose mounted re-fueling booms on Mirage IIIs for pilot training in connecting to a tanker.
 

kcran567

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I'm hoping this is a true f-5/t-38 size aircraft with a novel wing, small powerful engines, lightweight, maybe some thrust vector paddles or fluidic thrust vector, small levcons, pelikan tail. Minimal sensors eventually small radar or IR sensor, a simplified helmet sight or display. Maybe Saab will help keep costs down. Hoping for a great plane like t-38 that wont suffer from "f-35itis" but I don't know if that is possible today seeing how the contractors and Air Force have been doing business.
 

sferrin

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AeroFranz said:
sferrin said:
Speaking of. . .

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2015/04/205_135843.html

As for "gold plating", the T-38 wasn't exactly a cheap POS for it's day. Secondly, what use would an aircraft be that couldn't actually train a pilot to use the aircraft they're going to be flying? Is boom refueling something you really want to learn OJT?

No, but it's not outlandish to think that you could have an OML-conformal but non-functional receptacle that could do everything but the actual transfer of fuel. At any rate the flight handling characteristics of the platform you will end up flying operationally (F-22, F-35, F/A-XX, etc.) will be different from those of T-X, so flight training is always only representative up to some point. I guess that ground simulation takes care of the rest. Not to belittle the flying skills required, but the presence of a boom operator considerably eases the burden of the receiving platform compared to probe and drogue.


For obvious reasons, it's in the AF's interest to have as large a user base as possible. It is safe to say that the T-X emerging from the current requirements will be more expensive than T-50, Hawk, M346. Other nations may find that their needs are not as exacting as those for T-X and will not elect to buy it.


My point is: the AF is traditionally very poor at picking 80/20 solutions. How does that maxim go again? "It's the last 10% of the capabilities that net 50% of the total cost"?


Let's make an absurd example - just humor me. If i were to tell you that removing the AR capability from T-X would save enough money to buy six more F-22s (from a magically restarted production line), wouldn't you think about it? You can come up with scenarios of your own.
My view is that the acquisition budget is a zero-sum game, and "exquisite" capabilities should be carefully required only where necessary, because inevitably it means you won't be able to afford something you might need just as bad if not more. My .02.
I think they should have just gone with the T-50 and called it good. (Of course you'd have everybody else freaking out because their jet didn't get picked, and trying to blame the evil "MIC"/LM cabal for the fact that their own entries were subsonic, minimally performing trainers, so we'd still be right back here most likely after the dust settled from all the lawsuits.)
 

LowObservable

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the fact that their own entries were subsonic, minimally performing trainers

I would not make that assumption.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
the fact that their own entries were subsonic, minimally performing trainers

I would not make that assumption.
Aside from the T-50 which other off-the-shelf entry was a supersonic design? And by "minimally performing" I'm not talking T-37 levels of performance, just that they're subsonic <7G designs. Perhaps "minimally performing" is a bit harsh.
 

LowObservable

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The M346 is certainly not "minimally performing", Boeing was in there with a new design by 2009, and there is still no supersonic requirement.


What the USAF may get is T-50 performance at lower cost, which is not at all bad given the evolving need.
 

sferrin

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LowObservable said:
What the USAF may get is T-50 performance at lower cost, which is not at all bad given the evolving need.
If they can make a NEW design that has T-50 performance at a lower cost than buying off-the-shelf I'd be astonished. It would be a pleasant surprise but I'm not holding my breath.

Re. supersonic/subsonic, you're right. For some reason I had it stuck in my head that that was a requirement. (I could see the lawyers of the losing side salivating at the T-50's supersonic performance if it happened to win though. They'd accuse the USAF of being dishonest because it selected an aircraft that happened to be supersonic when they said it wasn't a requirement.)
 

LowObservable

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Exactly. In fact, it makes the whole requirement/source selection process much easier when you don't know in advance what each contender is bringing to the party and that all three are very different (as you did with a T-50/M346/Hawk contest).


The T-50 is in many ways a mini-F-16 designed in the 1990s, with a 1970s engine. Lots of scope for cost reduction.
 

Moose

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Hey how about a picture in the meantime, Boeing?
 

bring_it_on

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this is an old picture..not sure if this was after they partnered with saab or not.
 

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bring_it_on said:
this is an old picture..not sure if this was after they partnered with saab or not.

That was before SAAB. I wonder if this T-X demonstrator is tied in with the Black Diamond demonstration program, or partially a result of it? Isn't the NG-Scaled Composites version supposed to roll out later this year?
 
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