On September 13, Boeing revealed the plane that it hopes will win the Air Force’s T-X trainer competition. Four teams are vying for the right to deliver 350 trainers and associated ground equipment such as simulators. T-X will replace aging T-38 trainers used in the preparation of pilots for flying fighters and bombers; the Air Force’s current fleet of 500 T-38s averages over 40 years of age. Even if it were not a safety and maintenance challenge, the T-38 would be ill-suited to the instruction of pilots who will operate stealthy, digitized, networked aircraft. Boeing’s clean-sheet solution is designed to mimic the performance of the latest combat aircraft in an affordable, easily modified airframe. I have written a commentary for The National Interest here.
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