Lockheed Flies T-X Offering

Lockheed Martin’s entry in the competition to field the Air Force’s T-X trainer flew for the first time Thursday. The T-50A “performed flawlessly,” Mark Ward, Lockheed’s lead test pilot for the program, said after the initial flight test in Sacheon, South Korea, according to a June 2 release. Lockheed spokesman Rob Fuller told Air Force Magazine flight tests will be ongoing and a second test aircraft is expected to fly in July. The T-50A is a modified version of the the T-50 trainer Lockheed helped Korean Aerospace Industries design for the Republic of Korea Air Force. The reconfigured prototype is outfitted with a fifth-generation cockpit and boom-type refueling receptacle. Lockheed has argued its experience with the F-22 and F-35 fifth-generation fighters and ability to reuse hardware and software will make the T-50A the best choice to replace the the T-38 Talon. The formal request for proposals for the T-X is expected later this year, and the service likely won’t pick a winner until 2017 or later, but Lockheed is already standing up the T-50A final assembly and checkout facility in Greenville, S.C., according to the release. The Air Force expects the trainer to reach initial operating capability by 2024.