AETC Boss Says T-X a Matter of Balance

Competitors are already unveiling offers for the anticipated T-X competition, but Air Education and Training Command’s Gen. Edward Rice told reporters at AFA’s Air & Space Conference Monday that although USAF does need a T-38 trainer replacement, there will have to be a great deal of deliberation about where it fits in acquisition priorities. The Air Force still must decide how much longer it wants the T-38 to remain viable, Rice said, adding that USAF will have to fund extensions for certain components to keep flying the T-38. Still, he said, “We are confident we can fly it safely into the foreseeable future.” AETC has recently taken a comprehensive look at the structural health of all T-38s, which indicated there currently “are no constraints on it,” said Rice. However, he acknowledged that USAF would have to make some decisions about “structural issues” as it considers a path forward for the T-X. “The good news is we have flexibility,” Rice said. “Our requirement is … not bounded by the aircraft running out of structural life. We’ll use that over the next few years in making our decisions.”