The US air force is likely to replace its aging T-38 Talons jet trainer with new Northrop Grumman’s T-X prototype.
T-38, designed in the 1950s, is the first supersonic trainer aircraft in the world. The trainer had been in service for more than half a century and the US has considered to replace it recently with new one. The Northrop's T-X is one among the four options that the US has.
Though the Northrop Grumman has not disclosed any details about the project, a photo that surfaced on Friday provides information about it.
The photo were released on twitter Friday. They were taken during high-speed taxi trials at Mojave Air and Space Port in the US. The design of prototype was close to T-38. The model is a twin-seat aircraft with wings fixed low on the fuselage, but the model features a single engine, unlike the twin-engine T-38.
The prototype was built by Northrop subsidiary Scaled Composites, even though the earlier plans were to work with partner BAE Systems.
The T-X will compete with trainer aircraft designs from Raytheon-Leonardo, Lockheed Martin-Korean Aerospace Industries, and Boeing-Saab.
The US Air Force is expected to make a decision by the end of 2017, with plans to buy 450 of the aircraft. The photo was taken ahead of the T-X’s highly-anticipated first test flight.
"Our aim is to fly the aircraft at a time that we believe aligns with the competition. So we will fly it when the competition dictates it," Tom Vice, president of Scaled Composite’s aerospace sector, said.
"Obviously we’re trying to hold on to the uniqueness of the design, but we will be flying that airplane probably in the first half of 2016." Vice added.
The US may consider which ever company it wants but finally the new trainer will play important role in training future pilots for the F-35 joint strike fighter.
Northrop Grumman has received a US Navy contract to begin production of a second Japanese E-2D Advanced Hawkeye airborne early warning (AEW) and surveillance aircraft. The first Japanese E-2D is in production and will be delivered in 2018
Boeing and Northrop Grumman are going to compete for the US Air Force next-generation nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program, known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD). As reported by Sputnik, both the US firms are planning to submit a proposal for the GBSD sooner
Northrop Grumman has won $164 million contract to provide one E-2D Advanced Hawkeye aircraft configured for the Government of Japan. Work is expected to be completed in March 2018, the US DoD said in a statement Friday
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