The new T-X trainer’s requirements don’t call for it to be used as a future “Aggressor”-type aircraft, Air Education and Training Command requirements chief Brig. Gen. Dawn Dunlop told Air Force Magazine. Dunlop said AETC has incorporated into T-X the requirements of USAF major commands that now use the T-38 as a “companion trainer;” a function it performs for the B-2 and F-22 communities, but “we are not buying … a companion trainer.” When new companion trainers are required, the T-X should meet those needs, she said. AETC is “focusing on the advanced training” needs of the service for fighter/bomber pilots and not a future “Red Air” role for the jet. At this time, “there is no requirement for an Aggressor-type aircraft,” she added. That said, “I hope we have built into our requirements the adaptability” that would allow the T-X to be applied to other, “future missions.” Also, while the foreign military sales potential of the aircraft is not among program requirements, Dunlop said there is a strong international market for such an aircraft, which is likely one of the reasons industry is so keenly interested in T-X.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.