Defense electronics powerhouse Raytheon is expected to announce Monday it is entering the race to develop the Air Force’s T-X training system, a $10 billion program that will deliver at least 350 jets to replace aging T-38 trainers. Raytheon will team with Alenia Aermacchi, which builds the M-346 Master twin-engine trainer jet, and Canadian simulation company CAE. Raytheon will be prime contractor for the team, putting it in direct competition with Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and perhaps Textron for the last big acquisition program the Air Force is expected to award in this decade. Like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon is betting that combining a mature aircraft with state-of-the-art training equipment on the ground will enable it to offer a lower-cost, less risky approach to meeting T-X requirements than offering a clean-sheet aircraft. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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