Funding a New Trainer

The Air Force’s five-year Future Years Defense Program includes about $600 million to begin replacing the service’s 40-to-50-year-old T-38 trainers, said Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, USAF deputy assistant secretary for budget. Speaking Tuesday at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event, Martin said the new trainers, known as T-X, will allow for an “easier transition to more advanced aircraft,” such as the fifth-generation F-35 strike fighters. During a different breakfast event in Washington, D.C., also on Tuesday, Air Force Undersecretary Eric Fanning said he was “glad we were able to fit [the T-X] in the budget,” calling it an “existential investment for the Air Force.” He added, “We were getting to the point where that trainer was going to be training three generations of airmen,” so “it was time to invest in the next generation.” The Air Force is expected to award a contract for the new trainer in Fiscal 2017, said Martin during the March 4 budget rollout.