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10:41 PM, August 20, 2018
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Lockheed-KAI T-50A trainer jet for USAF T-X program (Image: Lockheed Martin)

Lockheed Martin and Korea Aerospace (KAI) collectively have submitted their final proposal for the United States Air Force (USAF) $16 billion T-X fighter jet program.

"Lockheed Martin submitted its final proposal at 3:35 p.m. on Wednesday (local time) to the USAF. Nothing specific has been confirmed over the upcoming schedules regarding the bid," KAI said in a statement last Saturday.

USAF plans to replace its 350 aging pilot training jets fleet, T-38Cs with a new aircraft. The Lockheed-KAI consortium with its T-50A trainer is competing against Boeing-Saab BTX-1 jet.

One of the main criteria for the USAF Advanced Pilot Training Project contenders to meet will be an ability to train pilots to fly fifth generation aircraft such as the F-35 and F-22.

Saab has offered to establish manufacturing and production capability in the United States for its Boeing/Saab T-X advanced trainer aircraft. The production capability includes solutions for radar and sensors, signature management, training and simulation, and support services as well as for high resolution 3D mapping, air traffic management and homeland security.

The Boeing T-X aircraft has one engine, twin tails, stadium seating, and an advanced cockpit with embedded training. The all-new, purpose-built design offers flexibility to evolve as technology, missions, and training needs change, Boeing had said in a statement in April last year when the second prototype took to the skies.

Among the bidders for the T-X program, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems decided not to submit a proposal for the US Air Force T-X Trainer program after carefully examining requirements and acquisition strategy as stated in the final request for proposals issued on Dec.

30, 2016.

Raytheon and Leonardo had jointly announced that they would not be participating in the US Air Force T-X trainer acquisition program in January last year. In February, Raytheon backed out and Leonardo decided to pursue the competition alone with its T-100 integrated Training Systems.

Northrop Grumman-BAE Systems team has backed out of the trainer program in February last year. BAE systems-Northrop Grumman and L-3 systems were offering a new aircraft to the US.

Initial operating capability is planned for 2024.

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