Boeing and its partner Saab rolled out their new training jet – the T-X on the 13th September. The US Airforce has been looking to replace its fleet of Northrop T-38s before 2024 since they’ve been in service now for more than 50 years. Boeing is hoping to win the potential contract for 350 aircraft at the end of 2017 in the face of stiff competition. If chosen, the T-X will be used to train pilots on various types of fighter planes in the American airforce.
Like the Franco-German Alphajet E or the Russian Yak-130, the T-X is not intended for combat operations. Its sole purpose is to train air force pilots to fly jet planes. So before learning to fly an F-35 or a Rafale, a trainee needs to learn the basics of flying a jet plane and that’s what the T-X is made for.
So it’s only once a trainee knows how to fly the trainer jet that they’ll be able to upgrade to a ‘real’ fighter plane. And even then, once they’re in the cockpit, there’s still a long way to go before being able to carry out solo missions in the field.
In short, the T-X is to the F-35 what the driving school car is to the Ferrari, a necessary step to avoid running off the road.